THE SPIRITUAL MARATHON

 

In my last parish we always knew when the London marathon was due. Blackheath would fill up with rows and rows of portaloos ready for the day. At the time there was a vogue for vicars to run. I can confidently say I was never tempted. Poor saps. Running on 26 miles of varied terrain? “Leave it out,” as the East Londoners used to say.

 

For the runners at the start on elegant Blackheath it all looks the same.  Everyone looks the same too. But the view changes as time goes on and the column makes it way down to the river and over into docklands. The people around change as time goes on. Some push ahead, some lag behind, other drop out. But the goal remains the same.

 

I find many parallels with the spiritual journey here. When we started out as believers the spiritual landscape was very familiar. But now the view is changing, people too are coming and going, it all feels very different.

But the goal remains the same.

 

As the course stretches through the City of London, for the marathon runners out it can become lonely and cold (or hot). Nutrition is important. Marathon runners do not succeed without making use of the feeding stations at regular intervals.

 

On the spiritual journey we need to be fed by the sacraments, the bread and wine of the body of Christ. Sometimes the going is so tough that this simple food is all there is, we lose sight of almost everything else, but the bread and wine is enough to put new life into tired spirits.

 

In the second half of the course the race is scarcely recognisable as the one we began, but the goal is ever closer. Does it feel like that to you sometimes in your spiritual journey?

 

Take courage. It is OK. The goal remains the same.

 

Keep going, feed regularly, enjoy the changing scenery, appreciate the new people you find yourself running with, and before you know it that finish will heave in sight.