It is inevitable. In 95% of every first encouter conversations I have, I hear one of the following:
"You don't look like a pastor." OR "You don't look like a runner."
I am not sure what either of those things is supposed to look like. What I am sure of is that I am, in fact, both of those things.
On April 16, 2018, I had planned a Boston Marathon viewing party for our congregation at our Wellesley, MA location. The church is just past the half way point of the race and the perfect place to cheer on the runners, have a few snacks, and be a part of the neighborhood action. Little did we know that the weather was going to change all of those plans. It was cold and the rain was coming down in sheets. Almost as soon as runner started to pass by, the medical tent next to the church started to fill. Within minutes, it was at capacity with hypothermic athletes. Moments later, the knock came on the door, "Would you mind if a few folks waited here to be dry until we can get them on to a bus?"
What came after that is a bit of a blurr. We started a fire, turned on every tea kettle and coffee pot, and emptied my house of towels, blankets, and dry clothes. The congregation came together as a seemless unit caring for more than 200 runners over the course of the next five hours. (Read more here: https://www.neumc.org/newsdetail/church-folk-help-runners-in-cold-wet-boston-marathon-11279850)
Why did we do it? Because that is who we are. We cared for the sick and fed the hungry and sheltered those in need from the storm.
When the call came from Wellesley Friendly Aid to offer me a bib for the 2019 Boston Marathon, I chuckled. You want me to run Boston? Sure, I run Disney races, but Boston. The director told me how she had heard the story of our Boston Marathon 2018 and hoped I would consider it.
There is a wonderful quote, misattributed to John Wesley and ultimately adapted from Scripture, that says this:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
I will not be fast. I will not place. I will most definitely cry as I cross the finish line. But I am called to do all the good I can in all the ways I can. This year, that means running the Boston Marathon to support Wellesley Friendly Aid.
Since moving to Wellesley in 2017, I have become intimately aware of the challenges faced by those without extensive means in this town. Wellesley Friendly Aid Association is a community-based, non-profit organization that works to improve the well-being and quality of life of the residents of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Through our evolving range of programs and services, made available both directly and in collaboration with other organizations and agencies, we offer assistance to Wellesley individuals and families of all incomes and ages who have a variety of unmet needs. WFA offers scholarships and camperships, connects high-schoolers with mentors, provides emergency financial assistance to those in crises, distributes grocery certificates, and helps residents connect to and apply for appropriate benefits.
I may not look like a pastor or a runner, but this Marathon Monday I will be both with ever bit of my ability. I hope you will help me do all the good I can in all the ways I can for the Wellesley Friendly Aid Association.
See you at the Scream Tunnel!