When I was in high school I ran cross country. My junior year, the Tigers of Hattiesburg High School had only one male cross country runner, me. It made my coach’s job pretty easy. I received a great deal of attention that year and could count on my coach being at each mile marker to encourage me along the way. Without fail when the mile marker was coming, I sped up. Without fail when the coach gave me instructions, I felt better about the next stretch of road I was running.
The Lenten season is now fully underway. It didn’t simply begin yesterday, but it is nowhere close to being over either. So I offer you words of encouragement at mile marker one. First, you can do it. Maybe you didn’t get out the gate the way you had hoped you would, but that doesn’t mean you can’t finish well. Keep going, I know you can do it. Second, you are now fully in the middle of the wilderness journey. There are lessons to be learned here, be listening for the Spirit of God. Third, now is the time to celebrate the absence of what you have chosen to give up. Remember it is for a reason, to be able to fully enjoy what we will celebrate on Easter Sunday morning.
Like Paul reminded the church in Philippi I remind you today, “I (you) press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me (you) heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Keep going, you’re doing great and I’m proud of you!