Red Clay and Smiles

Back now, I look back on the “Warriors Dash” up in Tennessee. My son and his friend enjoyed it. The final obstacle of the five kilometer race was a long, shallow pond filled with lovely red clay. Strung just above the water, spaced about ten feet apart were ten or so “barbed wire” fences–I think perhaps it was plastic, rather than steel, not sharp and dangerous. The boys hit the mud at a run, rolled under the first wire, then crawled and dog paddled to the finish line where they received their medals. Their time was under thirty minutes. The fastest runners completed the course in twenty minutes; the longest times were triple that. And everyone received a medal.

Everyone, all winners, displayed medals proudly slung around mud-covered necks, dripping reddish brown water, slinging chunks of clay off shoes as they walked, smiles on tired faces. Some of the runners wore costumes. No, this was no ordinary marathon. One group of women, moms perhaps, dressed as fairytale characters, and a team of men sporting “super hero” clothing. I saw “Clark Kent” and wondered if at the starting line he turned into “Superman.” There were dozens of “Bat Man” costumes, a few zombies, and other Halloween-type clothing. Most startling to me is the varied ages and athletic appearance of the participants. Young, old, slim, muscled, heavy-set, pot-bellied. It was a microcosm of Hometown, USA.

I didn’t take a poll, but I imagine people’s reasons for coming, for running the “Warrior Dash,” varied as much as their ages. For my son, it was the physical challenge of something very different. For some, it was an opportunity to support the cancer-research efforts of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, running after collecting donations. For others it was a great way to enjoy a day in the sun, listen to a band, drink beer, and hang out with lots of other people who were just like-minded enough–or crazy enough–to run 3.5 miles and negotiate twelve fun, tough obstacles.

The event organizers utilized volunteers from the surrounding towns to help run the marathon. Even the local fire department got into the act by hosing off runners. Needless to say, the well-stuck red clay was tough to get off. There was a pile of muddy running shoes, left as a donation to a national charity. I can’t imagine those shoes coming clean.

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

Though I didn’t compete this weekend at the “Warriors Dash,” I did have the opportunity to be around lots of people who were just enjoying themselves. I found myself forgetting the way things are in the metropolitan area in which I reside, people at each others’ throats, so to speak. Strife. Inconsiderate drivers. Pressures of work, family, just trying to live. I’m not a party goer. But I think I can understand why, when the weekend comes, some people just want to party, to forget the week that was, and the week that will be coming.

Oh, I’d like it if all those folks that came on Saturday were “saved,” that the band played southern gospel songs, that the Name of Y’shuaJesus displayed over the field rather than a four-story-tall Miller Light can. I’d like it if Christians could gather together in the unity of the Spirit, could party together like those runners and those attending the “Warrior Dash.” I think perhaps when at last Lord Y’shua (Lord Jesus) returns to conquer, the Wedding Feast will be a great party of united Believers. Maranatha!

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. . .

Matthew 22:2

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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