Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 11:39 - 12:2 (NRSV)
God of the Race,
So many have pressed feet into starting blocks before us;
Awaiting their turn to run;
Then bore batons for their piece in the great relay.
Now we feel the wood in our grasp;
And run with hearts engaged.
We have shed our pounds, and found our shoes,
Training for fives and tens and halfs;
Bleachers full around us with faith’s grand athletes
Cheering us on and calling us forth
Fix our eyes, we pray, on Jesus
The one who laid out the course of faith
And, for the joy set before him, broke the finish-line tape,
Enduring cross, disregarding shame.
Grant us endurance,
Though our legs pound, our muscles cry out,
and we pour off sweat,
To finish the race as he did.