Skip to main content

Running a Marathon, and a Strong Faith in God, Part Two

I hope you’ll excuse me if I pick back up on a theme I wrote about two weeks ago: running a marathon, and having a good, strong relationship with God.

As I shared with you a couple weeks ago, running a marathon is on my mind lately because I’ll be doing just that: the big day is tomorrow (Saturday, October 16), when I’ll be running the Baltimore Marathon, starting at 8:00 a.m.

(Lest you be too impressed: my one and only goal for this race is to finish it. I don’t care how long it takes me. . . which is good, because at the time the first several winners are crossing the finish line -- about 10:00 a.m. -- I won’t even be to the 13.1 mile halfway point!)

(Well, actually, I do have a time goal. I want to finish in time to grab a quick shower back at the hotel before their late check-out time, which is 1:30!)

Two weeks ago I said that having a good, strong relationship with God in a time of crisis is a lot like running the 26.2 miles of a marathon: it’s relatively easy, IF you’ve put the time in beforehand. My point was that a good, strong relationship with God doesn’t happen all at once. It’s built up morning by morning in Bible reading and prayer, and Sunday by Sunday in attending church. Those are the training runs for our faith, when we “put the miles in,” whether we feel like it or not, so we get stronger day by day, week by week, and then, when a challenge or crisis comes our way, our faith foundation is there to support us.

This week my point is simpler: so much of running, and faith, is “mind over matter.” Or should I say “heart and spirit over matter.” So much of running and the life of faith is choosing what to focus on, what to pay attention to.

Tomorrow, at mile 9, or 17, or 22, I’ll be faced with a decision: do I focus on my aches and pain and all those miles I have yet to cover? Or do I focus on my form and breathing and the distance I have already covered? The decision I make (repeatedly) will determine “how I did” in the race.

At various ages in our life: 17, 45, 68, or 88, we are all faced with similar decisions: do we focus on our failures and disappointments suffered, opportunities and friendships lost? Or do we focus on the blessings we have received and given, the successes we’ve enjoyed and friendships we’ve made and can still form? The decision we make (repeatedly) will determine “how we’re doing” in life.

As I've said many times before, happiness -- peace of mind, joy -- is an “inside job.” That’s true in running, and that’s true in life.

Our happiness. . . our peace of mind. . . our being joyful in life does not depend on -- in fact has almost nothing at all to do with! -- external circumstances.

We can decide to be full of joy, and that changes practically everything because joy is an internal disposition from which one views one’s circumstances. Or we can choose to be unhappy, and make that a self-fulfilling prophecy, as well.

So why not choose to be full of joy? Makes the race we’re in go a lot better!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Let's Unpack One Trump Tweet on Refugees

No one can  -- and I certainly don't want to try -- to unpack every tweet the person currently holding the office of President of the United States sends out.

No one has the time to respond to every one of his tweets on just one issue. Although I wish I had the time on the issue of the Executive Orders recently issued in regard to refugees.

But every so often I feel I MUST respond to at least SOME of those tweets, lest I grow accustomed to them as normal. And I refuse to normalize the abnormal. 

Take one of Saturday's tweets, for example: in response to Judge Robart's temporarily stopping an Executive Orders, there was this: 



“What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?” 

Let's unpack: 

"What is our country coming to..." 
Does that lament sound familiar? Ask yourself: who often says it, where do you hear it from the most? Is it a positive, hopeful line of thinking? I wil…

The Beatitudes, Lady Liberty, and Refugees

A sermon preached January 29, 2017
The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector
The Falls Church Episcopal

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the p…

Irresponsible to be Silent

A sermon preached June 19, 2016 The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal, Falls Church, Virginia
(“Dear Lord: Carry your word into the most protected parts of our hearts.”)
Today I don’t have a traditional sermon. I certainly don’t have a sermon about Father’s Day, but now that I’ve mentioned it, happy Father’s Day. Today, instead of a traditional sermon, I feel led to share some things that have been on my heart this past week.
I’ve been your Rector here since August of 2012. Those of you who have been here a long time know that my preaching style is almost always “expository,” a fancy word that simply means you take a passage of scripture, and having studied it during the week, you show – or expose – its meaning and relevance as best you can, and then you sit down, trusting Holy Spirit will be hard at work simultaneously translating for each of you what you need to hear on any given Sunday.
One of the implications of this style of preaching is I tend not to preach “to…