It Felt Like Love – Focus Scripture: 1 John 3:11
Back in October a few years ago, I sat on the sidelines at the halfway point of the Chicago Marathon and watched participants. They came in all shapes, colors, sizes, ages, and dispositions. Some sprang forward with exuberance after almost 13 miles of constant movement. Others ambled along at a more casual pace. There were some who struggled to put one foot in front of the other. Common to all the participants, was a sense of commitment. With a focus on staying in the race, they moved forward, at their respective paces, striving to reach some personal goal they had set.
My daughter took part in this race. She had made a personal commitment to persevere to at least the halfway point, for this was her first marathon. She had trained for several months before October, and she was driven by a goal to finish the race. Every day after her workouts she sent me a text message: “Whoo hoo, hizo, hizo!” (To this day, I still don’t know what that means!) Even so, I always tried to send her a return text. She told me later that she appreciated my support for her daily accomplishments.
Being on the sidelines the day of the race made me feel as if I had a part in each runner’s accomplishments. I was a sideline supporter, a well-wisher – the one who rang the bells, blew the whistles and shouted words of motivation to uplift the runners. In a spirit of unity and solidarity, my mere presence encouraged them to “keep on keeping on.” I was able to share in their joy.
The whole scene made me think more deeply about God. One theologian pointed out: “God reveals himself in many ways.” Another suggested that as humans we should deemphasize our differences and pay attention to our commonalities and mutual goals.
On the day of the marathon, I was able to view my brothers and sisters through spiritual, not cultural, lenses. I understood in those moments that none of us alone could grasp the whole of God, for the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. My understanding of God was enriched because of the experience as a cheerleader. And it felt like love.
Loving God, I pray that you show me how to extend love and compassion to my brothers and sisters who need support and encouragement. Amen.