I have said it before and I will say it again, I go to church when I participate in local and larger races. No, I don’t walk into a sanctuary of brick and mortar. Rather, I enter the sacred temple of a human family united by the common bond of self care, movement, and participating in a sport to the benefit of a particular charitable cause organized to love near or distant neighbors. Whenever I despair or learn of yet another instance of human exploitation and acts of hate, I remember counter narratives like this morning’s Coatesville Red Run Challenge. I give thanks for the unity celebrated as one bearer of the divine image cheers another and money is raised to promote affordable post-secondary education and social programs for the intellectually disabled. We may be a divided people in more ways than one. Yet, if we dare have the eyes to see and ears to hear, unity can be found, too.
The child Jesus whom we wait for during Advent eventually grew up and prayed for such unity to be manifested in this newly formed movement, “that they may all be one” (John 17;21). And what was to unify them was the same Spirit of God who is love. I pray that same Spirit would move in and through us this season and every season, at this race and every race. I pray we dare find unity in the midst of diversity as we celebrate what it means for all to be made in God’s image- to root for the well-being and success of each other.