Thursday, April 24, 2014

Running in the Shade: A Good Friday Meditation

English: Sunshine into shade
English: Sunshine into shade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a runner.

This is not a description I would have assigned to myself 3 short years ago. It's not that I was exercise averse, I just didn't feel motivated enough to buck up and pound the pavement. Now, I am disappointed in myself if I run less than 10 miles a week and am not impressed with myself unless I exceed 20 in my week.

But this blog is about Holy Things, not fitness. So what am I getting at?

I believe in inspiration. I believe God speaks to us in mysterious ways. I especially believe that inspiration when least expected is most exquisite. Recently, while running, I encountered the following inspirational meditation.

What is shade?

I set out for a run one recent, hot Miami morning. I normally run in the evenings due to my schedule and inability to peel myself out of bed in the mornings, but this morning was different. I set out as the sun began to rise and it was already almost 80 degrees outside.

Being a native, I felt comfortable in the heat. However, there is no getting used to the brutal Miami sunshine.

As I continued my run, I felt myself melt. With each plodding step I groaned under the angry eye of Apollo, daring me to complete my goal. I brought no water with me, which magnified my intense desire for a sip. This was one epic training run!

By and by I crossed beneath a set of oak trees and noticed how cool it was there. Not only that, but I noticed a cool breeze that refreshed me and gave me the strength to press on. Yes, that short period of relief gave me the strength to continue training. At least, it gave me hope that I could continue running and find more shady groves.

I reflected on this phenomenon and asked myself this question: What is shade?

Think about it, What is shade anyways? Shade is nothing more than relief from the fiery heat of the sun. The flames are absorbed by leaves held aloft on branches and those who are under the canopy enjoy the coolness. Do you think I have exaggerated this definition? Ask yourself this question: What is the difference between shade and shadow?

Both shade and shadow are created by the same means. The sun, or some other light source, illuminates an object and the area surrounding it. The object in the foreground leaves a dark impression on the background which we refer to as either shadow or shade. However, there's a real difference in the way we feel about shade versus shadow.

Shade brings relief, comfort and pleasure. Shadow implies ambiguity, darkness and distortion. While these connotations may or may not reflect reality, these are the things that are typically associated with these terms.

As I considered the physical reality of the comforts of shade, my thoughts turned more celestial. Spiritually, we can find comfort in the person of our Lord. Listen to the Psalmist's words:
You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
—Psalm 63:7 NASB
As we conclude Easter week, let us move forward in remembrance of the significance of the historical events of last weekend. Good Friday, Silent Saturday and Easter Sunday—a cohesive series of events—came together like a massive campaign to overthrow the gates of hell and bring relief.

When it comes to shadow, and my meditation, I focused on the first wave of this campaign: Good Friday. You see, the fiery wrath of God also came down on a tree. A tree that as the song describes: Was the emblem of suffering and shame. A tree which bore his only begotten son. You may refer to this tree as the cross.

There, the crossbeams held up the hands of Jesus of Nazareth. Hands that healed the sick and lame. Hands that restored sight and hearing. Hands that fed the hungry and cared for the widow. Hands that directed the weather and turned tables over. These hands, like leaves on a branch, absorbed holy wrath intended for filthy sinners.

And so we escape his wrath while we are found under that tree. We are then under grace.

Let us never forget it.
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Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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