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Our congregation’s theme verse for 2023:

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus,” (Hebrews 12:1c-2a)*

In Leadville, Colorado there is a race called the “Leadville Trail 100 Run”. It is a 100 mile foot race through the forests and mountains around Leadville, Colorado. The lowest point in the course is 9,219 feet above sea level, the highest point is 12,532 feet. One challenge at that height is the thin air, another the rise and fall of going over some of the highest mountains in the lower 48. The sheer distance of covering 100 miles on foot is daunting to most of us. Completing this race takes training, nutrition, and the best equipment. Finishers have to be prepared mentally, physically and emotionally. There are many challenges to overcome in the Leadville Trail 100 Run. The thing I find most amazing about this race is that there are more people who
want to do this each year than there is space available! Entry is through qualifying races or a lottery system! The prize for successfully running this race is a belt buckle, the respect of other runners and the satisfaction of achieving a goal. I think it is safe to say that MOST of us wouldn’t even think of trying this race.

Our congregation’s theme verse for 2023 talks about another race that all of us are entered into. It’s a race we all can finish for a prize greater than respect and a buckle. This race doesn’t have beautiful mountains, sky and lakes. There are other challenges and rewards. The race is our life/relationship with Jesus. He is the goal we strive to reach.

The main challenge to any race is the distractions. The tiredness, the discomfort, the pretty sights along the way. They all take us away from the goal. There is also the temptation to quit and take it easy, thinking the goal isn’t worth the effort. Our world and our sinful human nature work together to give us plenty of temptation and distraction. This temptation is not new. It existed even in the Bible times. That’s why endurance is called for. Keep moving in the same direction. Keep moving toward the goal that is Jesus.

Most races are individuals running, but not on their own. In the Leadville 100 you can register as a group of friends to run together and encourage each other. After a certain point in the race, others can join you as pace setters to encourage the runner to maintain a certain speed. There are support teams, medical personnel, rest stations and all sorts of help for the individual racer. In the race for Jesus this support is called “your church”.

In 2023, as a congregation, lets all work together and leave behind all the distractions of Covid, and secular politics and our own self-centered goals. Let’s focus again on the only goal that really matters and has eternal value. Let’s focus on the goal of Jesus and keep running together the race. See you on the trail!
Pastor Andrew

*Our verse is part of Hebrews 12:1-2. This snippet comes from where verse 1 feeds into verse 2. Verse divisions are a human addition to the Bible standardized by A.D. 1560.