Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday, 02/18/15


Old Testament: Jonah 3:1 - 4:11
Psalms: Psalms 95, 32, 143
New Testament: Hebrews 12:1-14
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Evening Psalms: Psalms 102, 130


“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Years ago, one of my neighbors was invited to participate in a Special Olympics track and field event. Kevin was born with Down Syndrome, and he never spoke. But Kevin understood everything, and he had the most incredible imagination. A laundry basket instantly became a row boat; a baseball cap transformed him into a homerun hitter; the William Tell Overture had him galloping like the Lone Ranger!

With his father’s help, Kevin prepared for the running event. Every evening, he practiced starting at the sound of a whistle, and every day he ran just a little bit farther. 

One day, Kevin didn’t want to practice. He shook his head and adamantly refused. Having anticipated this, his father showed Kevin a video of one of the races in Chariots of Fire. That’s all it took. Kevin not only wanted to run, he wanted to run fast! After that, he willingly and faithfully practiced, and on the day of the event, Kevin was ready. At the sound of the whistle, he took off running as fast as he could. Soon, he was way ahead of the other runners! 

It must have been the noise. First, he simply slowed down. Then, he stopped completely. Facing the cheering crowd, Kevin started to bow. Turning from one side of the field to the other, he bowed. His father ran down the sidelines calling his name, urging him to continue running. Snapping out of his victorious reverie, Kevin ran toward the finish line. He did win, but just barely. 

Though my limitations are different, my challenges are similar to Kevin’s. Sometimes I allow the noises in my life to distract me from staying the course. Sometimes I adamantly refuse to work any harder, thinking I’ve done enough, prayed enough, believed enough. That’s when my coach intervenes.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending a coach to teach me and to guide me, to snap me out of my reverie, whether it be one of comfort, anger, self-pity, or self-righteousness, regardless of the life event behind its cause. I pray that I may use the Lenten days before me to listen… in silence, through prayer, and by reading your Word, as I attempt to run with perseverance the race marked out for me…fixing my eyes on Jesus. Amen.

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