Thursday, December 11, 2014

Run the Race: Keep the Faith

It isn't uncommon for devout Christian athletes to name a singular passage of scripture and let it attest to their life. For example, on his Twitter page, Stephen Curry includes St. Paul'ls Letter as integral to his identity. I don't blame him, I try to live by those same words: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

In addition to the community at Philiippi, St. Paul referred to sports in his letters to the Corinthians and his companion—Timothy, quite often. Paul lived in a society that held athletes and sports in great esteem very much like our society does today.

However, Paul saw the spiritual potential of sport and used it to his advantage in his teaching. Athletes run the race for a perishable crown, but Paul encouraged the Corinthians to pursue an imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Faith without a purpose, without a goal is frivolous. The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote, “Persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:1). Athletic or not, his words are meant to guide anyone who believes, those who struggles and those who yearns to keep steadfast on the journey. 
Faith need not be abstract or elusive. What it is and how it develops can be understood through analogy, example. Developing our faith takes discipline and commitment. What athlete doesn't thrive without either? Keeping faith is a challenge. Athletes train and prepare for the contest. Victory is awarded to the one who has...worked harder? trained smarter? developed his or her talent? No, to the one who has kept the faith. Amen.

This video "Run the Race" by Moving Works synthesizes those passages of scripture that use sport for spirituality. As a runner and a Christian, it's message is not lost on me. I've heard each one before, but I like how this reflection extracts the beautiful truth of each letter.

Perhaps after watching it, you will commit to praying with a specific passage whenever you prepare, train and compete. Go for it.

Photo Credits
@StephenCurry30 Twitter Page
Thank you Sarah Armstrong for sending me the video!

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