The London Marathon and Lent.
In a few weeks’ time Britain will host one of the premier sporting events in the world, the London Marathon. Thousands will gather to take part in a unique experience which attracts many from all walks of life. There is the enthusiast who enters for the first time to the seasoned campaigner who delights in entering every marathon that’s going. Then there is the more serious runner, the professional who aims not only to take part, but to win. Anyone who has entered will realise the importance of keeping a training schedule which begins months in advance; in addition, there is also the vital ingredient of discipline.
On the day itself many will set off with great fervour while others will attempt to pace themselves. Crowds will line the streets cheering and encouraging the runners. As the miles are clocked many will experience the pain barrier, but giving up is not an option. Many will achieve their aspiration; all the hard work and effort has been worthwhile as they pass the finishing line.
Such an illustration may also help us understand some aspects of what the season of Lent is about. By the time this article is published we should be well into the season and Lent may also be likened to a journey. It involves spiritual preparation, struggles and discipline over a 40-day period which coincides with the 40 days Christ spent in the wilderness.
Journeying with Christ is indeed a challenge; we are called to be open and honest, some say it is like a marathon pacing ourselves and when the going gets tough it means not giving up at the first hurdle we face. Instead as the truth of the Easter Story highlights, there is hope even in the midst of some of the most difficult experiences as we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Reverend Alastair Bissell