It’s “Marathon Sunday” this weekend, reminding us that our journey toward God is itself a race that requires endurance. Even this Sunday’s prayer picks up the theme: “Grant, O God, that we may run without stumbling to obtain your promises”.
A marathon utterly depletes its runners. Some finish, then collapse, unable to rise for a time. They’ve given everything they have.
The same holds true, by definition, for the race to obtain God’s promises. The runner reaches the end when he or she has nothing left to give. Cases for personal righteousness, painstakingly constructed, have collapsed; narratives of self-justification, carefully elaborated, have dissolved. Only emptiness remains – poverty of spirit, the sole precondition for the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Certain moments and people invite or compel us to surrender pretense. Conversation feels genuine, if not easy, since we’re not making a case for ourselves, only talking. Poverty of spirit has paid a brief visit. The race isn’t over, but we catch a glimpse of the finish line and the promise that awaits us there.