Easter is for runners

By Donald Brazile

Are you a runner? 

Do you know how to tell if you are or not? In one sense, we’re all “serious” runners. So much so, that probably the next time someone asks, “How are you doing?” The best answer is, “I’m running.” Everyone runs, even those who say they hate running. We’re all runners, joggers, walkers, limpers. We run from, run to, or run for something.

Which brings us to the Easter story.

The gospel of John tells us that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance, so she ran and told Peter and the young man John, and they ran too. This is the only time in the Bible, I think, where three people all run in the same story. They ran with a great sense of hope and surprise.

Easter is for people who are running FROM things. It’s for anyone who looks at their day and wants to “run for their lives” before it even gets started. It’s for those who are dealing with some sticky situation at work that is turning into an energy-sucking sinkhole and it isn’t getting any better. It’s for those who can’t stop doing that thing that you know you need to stop doing and start doing that thing you know you need to start doing. Easter is for that person who received terrible news from a physician. It’s for someone who recently heard the words, “I never loved you.” It’s for those who feel dangerously close to doing something stupid. It’s for those of us who’ve just done something stupid. It’s for the heartbroken.  Easter is for those who have had their hope crucified.  It’s for those who want to run far, far away from this new terrible normal.

But at the same time, Easter is for those who are running TO something. They are running not to escape and avoid, but running to share the good news that the Lord still walks among us, giving hope to the hopeless, strength to the faltering, love to the lonely, honesty to the deceitful, consolation to the grieving, and faith to the faithless. Easter proclaims that darkness, death, and despair do not have the last word. You have probably heard that the word gospel means “good news,” but in Greek it comes from a word meaning life-changing “headline” news. The kind of news that sends people running with joy and excitement!

If for some reason you wake up on the wrong side of Easter this year without a spring in your step and the music of the Easter service doesn’t move you, could it be that you are running from what you should be running to?

If the lilies at the altar don’t inspire, the message or the Messenger does not connect with you, and you remain unsure and uncertain about this whole resurrection thing, could it be that you are running from what you should be running to?

Often, we do this, don’t we? We run to what we should run from and struggle with what we’re running for.

Which way are you running in this year’s Easter Run?