For in Him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28
One of the main moments of crises in the classic runner’s movie Chariots of Fire, is when Eric Liddell, a renown runner and Christian (later martyr), cannot bring himself to race on a Sunday, even if it means missing the Olympic trials.
I was contemplating this as I was running on Sunday.
I won’t go into the complete history of the sabbath here, but there are people who say the sabbath (a day set apart for God) shouldn’t be on Sunday at all but on Saturday.
We have a pastor friend who maintains his sabbath on Saturdays, because although he is doing churchy stuff, Sunday is a work day for him.
As I try and apply Biblical truths to my life in practical ways, the question isn’t so much “Is it okay to run on Sunday,” but rather, “Does running break the sabbath?” (because sometimes I run on Saturdays too!)
Jesus wasn’t big on man-made traditions, as shown in John 5:17 when, despite Pharisaic outrage, He healed a man on the sabbath, replying to the scoffers, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Jesus’ work was devoted to God, and therefore, He wasn’t breaking any commandments when He made the lame beggar walk.
Now, I’m not trying to equate running with miracles, nor am I attempting to put myself on the same level as Jesus, but if He is our example, then what kind of license does that give me regarding the sabbath?
The beauty of Biblical Christianity is that as a Christian, I am not bound to conform to any type of man-made religious regulations, but I have the freedom to be a unique child of God. And as long as I live by what I find in God’s word (without twisting it to fit my own crazy ideas) I’m on the right track.
Which is why I think God wants me to run on Sundays.
On the outside, running appears to be a vain, selfish endeavor, but for me, running is much more than a physical exercise, it is time I get to spend alone with God.
There are things that I need to talk to Him about, and when I run, I can not only talk to Him, but I can listen to Him as well. Running sharpens my mind and refreshes my spirit.
With every step I take through this gorgeous German countryside, I am thankful that the Creator of the Universe gave me life and breath and a knowledge of what is good and beautiful. He is the one who allows me to put one foot in front of the other (whether quickly or slowly), the one who keeps air in my lungs, and the one who surprises me with a group of deer or a field of flowers.
When I come back from a run (even in the most horrible weather), I feel centered again and ready to take on any task set before me. I am no theologian, but I think I just described the sabbath.
It is a day set apart for the Lord, in order that we, in our frail human bodies might be refreshed.
Rather than exhausting me, or causing my brain to shut down, running adds to my energy and resets any cross-wired circuits in my brain.
Because God is a God of order, the God of fixing things that are broken, and the God who makes the weak strong, I believe I should keep on running, no matter what day it is.