“Christ is risen!” The worship leader welcomes us to our gathering as we enter this third week of Eastertide.
“He is risen indeed!” we echo. Is it just me, or is our pronouncement gathering strength as we venture further into this season of new life?
I’ve just walked across the bridge, facing into thousands of runners moving steadily toward me.
“Wheelchair!” one man called out, asking the crowd of runners to make a little space for him to pass through, pushing his friend.
A young girl walked on the side, holding her mother’s hand.
A balding man jogged past.
This was my third year walking to church against the flow of the runners. Every time it brings tears to my eyes. I want to turn around and run with them, joining this crowd making space for people of every age and ability to run together.
As I reached the far side of the bridge, the leader of the band at the corner called out, “You’re killing it! You’re half-way there already!” It’s a funny turn of phrase, “killing” when she means “doing well,” but her words raised tears in my eyes again. I could hear the cloud of witnesses calling out to us. I could hear the voice of the One who will one day say “well done.”
He doesn’t wait until the end of the race to offer encouragement.
Sometimes He speaks through the slang of a band leader on the corner.
Sometimes through emailed words offering reassurance, “Be at peace, my friend.”
And sometimes His comfort comes over bowls of Tim Horton’s chili as three friends consider those times in life when, like the man whose friends dug a hole in the roof, we have to let others carry us to Jesus. It’s how it’s meant to be.
I think once more of the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:
Q1. What is your only comfort
in life and death?
A1. That I am not my own,
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death,
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. . .
“With body and soul”—it’s how I belong to Him. It’s also how He belongs to me.
This, today, is my favorite part of Easter—being raised into belonging. And belonging not to a God who stands at a distance, disembodied, but to one who embraces us still with skin on.
Taking it deeper:
What might it mean for you to remember today that you belong not to a disembodied God but to one who still gives Himself to you through His body?
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I was in that throng of runners! I would have looked out for you if I had known you too were crossing that bridge. It is an encouraging thing to hear people along the way encourage you on… like the gal you heard, “You’re killing it. You’re half-way there!”
In real life we never know if we’re half-way there, or approaching the finish line. In matter of weeks I have lost a cousin, an uncle and a good friend. We just focus on our race, knowing the cloud of witnesses is growing. And doing it under the smile of God’s approval is reward in itself.
Wow – I’m sorry to hear of all your recent losses, Bill. I remember how hard my grandparents found it when they went through a stretch of losing one friend or family member after another. Grace to you as you keep fixing your eyes on Jesus and running your race so faithfully!