The readings the other day really hit the spot for my thinking about my relationship with God and my running. This time I needed to bib numbers and no race times. Those are sometimes important ways to help me focus on discovering something to which I would not have been exposed otherwise or realizing a relationship that I had seen a long time ago but just happened to be reminded of. I will continue to use my race times and bib numbers as a reason to study Bible verses and explore relationships.
However, as I said, this time I needed no prompting. I'll mention the three readings in the order in which the priest spoke about them in the homily: Rom 9:1-5, 1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a, and Mt 14:22-33. The priest's interpretation at the 8 AM mass that I attended was not necessarily a particularly inspired interpretation and could have been predicted from reading the synopsis in the bulletin, but it never hurts to think about what is being said and how it relates to me.
The reading from the letter to the Roman's was a reminder to the Israelites of how much God cared for them and all the gifts God had given to them. I look at the gifts that God has given to me and am reminded to thank God every day. In fact, I should thank him more than once a day for all the gifts I have for God has given me an abundance. One of those gifts is my running.
The reading from the first book of Kings was the reading in which Elijah recognized that the Lord was not in the earthquake or the fire but in a tiny whispering sound. In other words, God is found in the ordinary things and doesn't always require a big event to be part of. God is always there. God will be there when I run the marathon. But God is also there with me on every stride of every run that I do. God, in fact, is with me for me to welcome into my life at every moment of every day. Remembering just how much God not only gives me but is there for me is critical.
The final reading from Matthew is the story of Peter being invited to walk on the water to get to Jesus. Interestingly, in his homily, the priest mentioned the reservoir by which I'll be running this Saturday on a long run. A long run which would be a big deal for a first time marathon runner, but which has become part of the ordinary for me as a second timer. Most importantly, the reading with Peter was about a person believing (even if just for a moment) that they could do something that God has asked them to do and just going for it. Has God asked me to run marathons? Perhaps not directly, but when I think of all the spiritual good that has come from my running, I do like to think that there is a connection between my running and my belief and that what I do is a meaningful part of my relationship with God. Jesus offered Peter his hand when Peter did not believe that he could do what Jesus had asked him to do and grew fearful. Whenever I think that something may be beyond my grasp, I must remember that God is there as a guide--and again, not only on the day of the marathon, but in every stride I take in every workout and in every step I take in life in general.