Sunday’s sermon was “Running to the Empty Tomb” and included some great pictures of Peter and John running after they heard the news. John ran ahead and got there first, but he didn’t go in. Peter got there after him, but he went right in. Neither was wrong or right in their actions—just different.
I began to think about my own running ahead in many ways, good and bad. When I was in college, I totaled my mother’s car (old but important to her) because I ran a yellow light, thinking I could beat the on-coming traffic. I knew it was an exceptionally long yellow light because it was on my regular route returning to college from home. The man on the cross street assumed his light would be green by the time he got there and didn’t slow down. Crash! We both ran ahead with unfortunate consequences.
Steve and I used to laugh at our older neighbors, Marg and Marshall, because when they went on a walk she was always a few feet ahead of him. We never saw them actually walking together. Now Steve and I have the same problem; we don’t even try to walk together for exercise. But even when we are going to dinner or an event together, I always seem to be ahead of him, though it “profits me nothing.”
Because this idea was fresh on my mind yesterday, I noticed that sometimes in exercise class I think I know our next moves and I get ahead of the teacher a bit. Of course that means I’m not in time to the music, and I have to slow down, which is better anyway.
When Steve and I dance together, we have the same problem. Sometimes it’s helpful to guess at what he’s going to lead next, but sometimes I just start what I expect him to lead and I’m wrong—again.
Sometimes it’s good. Someone will say, “We need to …,” and I’ve already done it, leaping ahead to take care of something. I can jump out of the car to run into a restaurant to see what the wait is and be back quickly. I can grab my phone (as do many) to find the quick answer to a question. Sometimes I have the directions on my phone before someone can program their GPS. Seems like I’m always running ahead.
So I have trouble pacing myself with other people. What does that say about my personality? I’m not sure. (Maybe you will comment to give me an answer.) I never feel competitive about it; it’s just the way I am. I remember walking with my mother and my Aunt Mae at my niece Claire’s high school graduation. As we crossed the football field, Aunt Mae, age 83, walked quickly ahead of us all; I hung back with Mother, 73, who clung to my arm and walked very slowly. So maybe I inherited Aunt Mae’s genes for walking as well as her genes for skin that wrinkles so much!
The Apostle Paul loved the race analogy, using it time and again. Clearly our most important running is as a Christian. Maybe I’d better think about running ahead in that way!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith… Hebrews 12:1-2a