When I was in high school, I used to run all the time. I ran some in college, and even less in seminary, until I hardly ran at all. Fortunately, I had one 5k race I would do every fall, and that kept me running at least a month or two each year, but other than that I had become out of shape in more ways than one.
Now that I'm back on a regular running schedule, some things have started to come back to me. I am realizing that the time I spend running is time that I can commune with God. At first, I'll be honest, it was mainly a physical thing, but now that I'm in better shape, I can have the conversations and reflections with God that I really need and long for.
On one such run, I realized that the suffering I go through while running is a reminder of the suffering that Jesus went through on the cross (though His was much more painful and violent). Much like sharing the broken bread and the poured-out cup of Holy Communion is a reminder of Jesus's suffering, death, and resurrection. So when I run, I commune with God, and I am being made new.
Now, every metaphor has its limits, and this one does too. First, running is primarily individual, while communion is celebrated with the church. Next, the suffering of running is self-inflicted and it doesn't compare to Jesus' suffering, nor the vast suffering that goes on in our world today, but for me, pushing my body to its limits and beyond is a reminder of what Jesus and others go through when they face suffering.
One last thought on running, it's a great way to get to know my way around town! Keep praying for us as we begin our ministry here in this new context.