Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Beyond the Headlines and Finish Lines

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Beyond the Headlines and Finish Lines

Article excerpt

People in New York City cheered last Sunday as thousands crossed the marathon finish line. This reminded me of an equally impressionable experience I had at the Chicago Marathon last month.

While the reports of that race took on a negative tone because of the unseasonably hot weather and the problems it posed for runners, I learned some valuable lessons while I was watching the race.

It's not every day that a city closes its streets to allow for thousands of people to run in and to watch a 26-mile race. I was seeing a marathon for the first time, and this day was particularly special because a close friend was in the race. He'd been training for many months, and I looked forward to cheering him on from the sidelines.

In addition to our mutual love of athletics, my friend and I share a deep love for spirituality. As students of Christian Science, our daily study of the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, brings insight and meaning to our various endeavors.

That morning, when I read the Lesson outlined in the "Christian Science Quarterly - Bible Lessons" and prayed to prepare for the day, one idea that caught my attention was particularly helpful. "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart" (Ps. 31:24). I knew that my friend could feel strengthened, not fatigued, throughout the race, because his ambition was to glorify God, not himself. And I could see as the day wore on that spiritual preparation - whether you're a participant or an observer - embraces the whole activity in God's love.

The very nature of divine Love is to pour out to others, so you can't really offer a prayer that says, "And this goodness and health will only go to my friend." God's nature is infinite, and when we call upon infinity in prayer, it naturally brings some measure of good to everyone involved in the activity.

The marathon is a huge event, and I can recall many mental "snapshots" as cowbells clanged, signs waved, and fans cheered for all runners, even strangers, like old friends. …

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