Running Together

Read Hebrews 12:1-3

When I was young my primary focus was playing sports. I was consumed by it. The common theme across the various sports I played was that they were all team sports. Rarely did I compete in any individual sports. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the teammates, the communal aspect of the team more than anything. Whether celebrating success or wallowing in sorrow it was better done together.

Yet, too often I viewed my faith very differently. The lessons I learned early in life, which were reinforced time and time again in college, was that the church will let you down and hurt you so best to focus on the individual race that has been marked out for us.

Despite these early lessons, time and again I have returned to community with other followers, in different ways and in different settings, because of Paul’s description of the church as Christ’s bride. It is a fantastic analogy. My love for my wife has continued to grow despite, and in many cases because of, our disagreements and frustrations. Whether celebrating success or wallowing in sorrow it is better done together.

In this passage from Hebrews we see the juxtaposition of an individual pursuit, running, with a picture of community: being surrounded by “pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on,” as Eugene Peterson describes. Recently, when I was once again struggling with the frustration of not feeling I was tapping into the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give us, my small group challenged me to think of times when I felt like I was living that full life. Every example I thought of began and ended with a small community of believers who shared life with me or an older Christian who simply walked alongside me. Yes, God desires to have a personal relationship with us on a one-on-one basis, however looking back on my walk with God it is those that have surrounded me, encouraged me, grieved with me, and challenged me that have allowed me to tap into the abundant life that Jesus promises.

For reflection: 

  • Is there someone in your life that is helping you tap into the abundant life Jesus has promised or is God calling you to be that veteran cheering on another follower of Christ?

Nativity Building:

  • Place animal figures in the stable. This barn was a humble, but JOYFUL place for Jesus to be born!

by Kevin Kundinger

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