By Karen Baker
“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” (2 Tm 4:7)
I was a little sick, it was a little chilly, and the misty rain had me thinking of a warm cab ride back to my car at City Park.
But I worked up the nerve to walk the 6.2-mile Crescent City Classic on Holy Saturday. Along the way, I considered how to extract some theological significance from this journey. So here’s what I came up with:
The incarnation. God came to dwell among us, and we find God in our midst when we are together. The Classic brought out the best in humanity, it seemed to me. How else can you explain more than 20,000 people taking a walk in the park with little evidence of trouble? There was a sense of joy and shared purpose. Just look at the pictures.
Our upward calling. It is a sense of shared purpose that gives the Christian story life. We are all on this divine journey together, bound together through baptism as the Body of Christ. What if we could be as devoted and dedicated to our Christian journey each day as those of us who ran/walked the CCC? When I started to get a little weary toward the end, I kept thinking of St. Paul: “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).
The beginning and the end. As I marked each mile (while my daughter the runner waited patiently at the finish line), it occurred to me that I was on the way back to my beginning. We had parked at City Park, took a bus to the starting line, and now I was walking back to the park, where I started. It reminded me that God is our beginning and our end, our alpha and our omega. We are always headed back to Him.
So after almost two hours, I crossed the finish line. I can’t say I competed well, but I kept the faith, I finished the race, and I went home to rest up for the Easter Vigil. I was a little tired, it was a little late, but neither height nor depth nor any other thing could keep me away from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Karen Baker is a freelance writer with a Masters in Pastoral Studies from the Loyola Institute for Ministry. She works in the Office of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and in ministry at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mandeville.