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Perseverance and Endurance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2, NRSV
 
In the letter to the Hebrews, we are told to lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely to us and run with perseverance the race that is set before us. We are not told that we will get to choose the race that we run, the path that we will follow or the obstacles we will face. I think it is important to remember that Jesus’ followers were never promised an easy life. In fact, there are many times throughout Gospel that Jesus tells His disciples that life will be hard when following Him. Yet He invites us all to do so. There are times in our lives when the race seems as if we are coasting downhill, there is no resistance, and there are no obstacles in our way. Yet there are other times in life that we encounter many challenges or are weighed down by sin and suffering, and it takes a great deal of strength to persevere.

It is during those most difficult times that we must remember we do not run this race with perseverance all alone, as if we were relying on our own strength. We run with perseverance bolstered by faith. We look “to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” As we move through a season of more difficulties, more obstacles than many of us can remember in recent history, as we run this race that is set before us, remember to rely on your faith, faith that has been given strength through the endurance of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, in You we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray You so to guide and govern us by Your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget You, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, pg. 100
The Rev. Lisa R. Neilson
Associate for Pastoral Care and Women's Ministries
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