By Rev Andy Muckle, St George’s Crypt

In a few weeks, my wife and I will be running the Leeds 10K to raise money for the Crypt. In some semblance of preparation, we have been running/breathless jogging/stumbling (please delete as applicable!) around the streets where we live. There have been days when we have got too hot, too wet or even had a minor altercation with the tarmac. It is all part of training, I tell myself. Yet at the same time, there have been some glorious moments as well, to be out in the gentle spring warmth early in the morning before the traffic starts and to look out upon the countryside in the distance is to feel the joy of being alive in God’s beautiful creation (even when you are mildly breathless and your legs feel like jelly).

Our race is the Leeds 10K, but as the writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us, we all have a race set before us. A more accurate translation of the Greek is… we all have a race ‘lying before’ us. And we do – we all have a race of life lying before us. For some it is a smooth race to the finish line, of a good job, a fashionably decorated house, and maybe even a fashionably decorated partner, smart kids and smart holidays. For most of us, and particularly for our friends who come to the Crypt, the race along the road lying before us is more like my wife and I’s training runs…it has the semblance of stumbling onwards towards the finishing line.

So we stumble and we fall, and then we try and get up again. That is the perseverance the writer of Hebrews talks about; a perseverance that comes not just from our strength alone, but from those who accompany us on the race. We are surrounded by the support and love of a great cloud of witnesses, the Saints whose lives we look to for inspiration and the living saints that surround us in friends and family. And standing at the finish line cheering us on is the greatest support of all, Jesus, our coach, our tactician, our physio and our friend.

Those of us of a certain age will well remember the story of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The British runner Derek Redmond tore his hamstring in the semi-finals of the 400m. He stumbled and he fell…and then his father appeared on the track, took his son’s arms around his shoulder and together they limped around the track and finished the race to a standing ovation. Jesus is that father; and when we stumble and we fall, he will be there to carry us with perseverance on the race lying before us.