I wish I could have God’s view of Montgomery Bell State Park this Saturday.
I’ll have friends there, eyes on the ground, and they’ll report back to me: it was good.
But even they won’t have the full view of what’s really going on – what’s happening in and through the registration forms and running shoes, the paper numbers pinned and the soles slapping gravel strewn with leaves.
They will see the beauty, perhaps, in the autumn path along the 5k trail – God’s creation paintbrush wild with gold and green. They will see the beauty, perhaps, in the floating colors of balloon, offered up like prayer. They will see the beauty – how could they miss it? – in my soul-friends’ brave smiles, the smiles of those who have walked in the parched wilderness and found the surprising taste of honey from the rock.
But only God gets the full view, and I long to see it from where He sits – that trail alight in color, links in a single chain – the sprinters and the stroller pushers, all moving as one.
He’ll look down and name it what it is: the Body.
What is that view, looking down on this humble race from on high, if not a living metaphor for the way we’re called to walk this broken world? Jesus came here long ago, our Immanuel, God right here with us, and right in the middle of his most famous sermon, the instruction manual on how to live in this kingdom as if it were the next, he explained:
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
And all those bodies in motion, this Saturday? They tread the path of peacemakers. They are the people who walk brave, in Jesus skin, and say, with their steps: I am here. We may not share the same story, but we share the same Spirit. Let’s walk this thing, together.
This world, where long-awaited children are lost, is broken beyond repair. But there is peace in it, too, if you have eyes to see. And every step we take with the broken is a step that brings His peace – which we’ll fully enjoy in heaven – right here to the right now. When God looks down at this little ol’ race in this little ol’ town, he sees a trail blazed by Spirit – each soul with a flicker of light within, sparking against others on the path until suddenly: flame. Where two or more are gathered, he promised. God with us.
This weekend, I’ll join a whole host of others who honor sweet Bane as we cheer these runners from afar. Thank you, runners and sponsors and prayer warriors, for standing in the gap for families who walk in the wilderness of grief. Blessed are you, peacemakers. We see His light in you.