Lent, Running and Connecting with a Hurting World: Part 2

The morning of the race, I walked into a hotel to warm up and stretch before the start. Just outside the lobby I bumped into a group of Japanese runners wearing shirts that said “Pray for Japan,” and was reminded that while miles of ocean separate us, there is lots of living water that connects us. Every mile of the race, and every step, from start to finish was a chance for me to remember and pray for the work of global outreach in the Church. As the people of Episcopal Relief & Development carry out their important ministry, I know I’ve been a part of that work through the resources, prayers and support offered by this particularly slow half-marathoner.

A few weeks after I completed the half marathon (with a personal best, I must let you know!), All Saints’ Church and the friends of Slow Priest Racing sent a check to Episcopal Relief & Development for over fifteen hundred dollars! And even cooler than that, a whole bunch of my friends became aware of how they are caring for people in need around the world, because (I like to think) of my repeated posts on Facebook and Twitter and the grace of God working through some silly little Lenten devotions.

Now I know that fifteen hundred bucks isn’t going to change the world or rebuild the massive damage of an earthquake, but the spirit of connectedness that I felt to God’s people all over the world and to this ministry is an amazing reality for me at this part of my faith journey.

God willing, I will be taking another Sunday off to run a race in September. This time it will be the incredibly challenging (and HILLY!) Kauai Marathon. I’ll train hard, but I won’t just be doing it for me… I’ll be doing it for the people of Japan and all the countries where Episcopal Relief & Development is on the ground.

Thank you, Episcopal Relief & Development, for inspiring me to get out there and do something for all of God’s people! Thanks for helping me feel the connection of God’s work in the world! What a Lent!

Father Ben Nelson is rector of All Saints Episcopal in Kapa’a, Hawai’i.