Ready, steady go – another marathon begins!
I never did like running — which is why I was a goalkeeper — but I am now told that I have got to run another marathon. Yes, another one!
Being in Bournemouth reminds me how much I hated running because I was at Boarding school near Southbourne and when the teachers wanted a break we would be sent off on a run. One route was to the top of Hengisbury Head and back or the alternative was a long return plod along the promenade to Bournemouth Pier.
I will be honest: When most of the children were on the return leg I would turn round as if I were one of them. Alternatively, I could find a hiding place en route until they were running back.
So, the mention of a marathon to be run is horrific enough, but to do it, having just finished one, is like a cruel joke. It’s even worse than that because ‘another’ isn’t the second or third. It’s like trying to run seven marathons in seven days like Rugby League player Kevin Sinfield. The Leeds Rhinos player did that in the last week to raise funds to support his former team-mate Rob Burrow and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Kevin was doing it for Rob who lives with the depilating disease and we are running for each other. He had a purpose to keep him going and so do we. He raised over £1million and we can help each other reach the finishing line and save many lives in the process.
We thought the first Covid marathon would finish by Easter, but now we are having to run through Christmas and to keep running until next Easter. Some people hoped for a lockdown sprint and the more realistic said a marathon, but this is longer, much longer. Someone said to me in the week that they could cope with a marathon because it has an end, but Covid doesn’t seem to have a finishing line after 26 miles.
I pray we will find the strength like Kevin Sinfield and keep running to the finishing line, but in any such challenge there is always a back-up team working behind the scenes. Support runners, an encouraging crowd, people with refreshments and medical assistance, and more, are all needed. It feels as if we have done a few marathons in the last nine months and we are still running, but we can help each other reach that finishing line.
It IS exhausting and will continue to be so. If we are not running we can be part of the back-up team that will pack and deliver Christmas Hampers or telephone the lonely every day, but particularly on Christmas Day. The card or a phone call or a knock on the door and a hello from a social distance can be the encouragement for people to finish the final marathon.
I am sorry that we are not providing ‘refreshment’ through any activities, but we will welcome people to services this Sunday with the Worship Group (see below), on December 20th and on Christmas morning. I will also be available for private prayer in Church if you call and let me know you are coming.
There will be a Zoom Carol service on Christmas Eve followed by an opportunity to share in Carols on the Green at 8pm as below.
We are also planning to ’sing to the street’ from outside church at 4pm on Sunday December 20th and will give more information next week.