Run-Preach-Sweat

In a recent post titled Run-Sweat-Preach, I detailed my plan to run the Hingham road race at 7:00 am on the 4th of July and then be back in time to lead the 8 o’clock service at St. John’s. Since I’m sure many of you had trouble sleeping the night before wondering whether I’d be able to pull this off, I’ll share how things went.

In a word? Swimmingly — but mostly because of the sweat involved. I was actually pleased with the race itself. I ran the 4.5 mile race in just under 35 minutes (a 7:47 minute pace per mile). I was feeling good about myself until my kids informed me that the 9-year-old girl who lives next door beat me by a minute and ten seconds. Granted she’s somewhat of a running prodigy — she is in a running club, trains regularly, and obliterated the competition yesterday to win first place in her age group (way to go Lexie!).

Heck, I’m not even the fastest clergyman in town — the unitarian minister at Old Ship Church, Ken Read-Brown, is a veteran runner who holds that distinction. In fact, I’m not even the fastest runner in my own chancel — choir member Scott Tooker ran it in a blistering 27 minutes flat. Yikes!

Results notwithstanding my diabolical plan to run then preach and celebrate the holy mysterious went off without a hitch. Except for the sweat. After the race, I got back to the rectory at 7:50 am, took a quick shower, changed into clericals, and walked into the sacristy at 8:04. Having a lay minister begin the service for me bought me about five extra minutes. I started vesting halfway through the first lesson, finished up during the second reading, and walked out with wet hair and a bottle of Gatorade just in time to read the gospel and head to the pulpit. Perfect timing!

Unfortunately when you take a shower before fully cooling down it’s only afterward that the real sweating begins. About two minutes into my sermon I excused myself to go into the sacristy and grab a towel. I must have looked like a caricuature of a nervous new preacher wiping sweat off my brow every few moments. But my 8 o’clockers were great — supportive, excited that I was able to run the race before the service, and it was a fun morning.

I’m hopeful that the Fourth won’t fall on a Sunday again for at least another seven years. But when it does, I’ll be ready. Plus I have a new training goal: Beat Lexie!


3 Comments on “Run-Preach-Sweat”

  1. See? This is what happens when you defy my wise advice. Told you to skip the shower.

  2. Bob Chapman says:

    It will be longer than seven years, unless the civil authorities decide to do away with leap years.

    That said, I doubt it will ever be a problem for you at this particular cure of souls for you. It isn’t because you have a curate. After all, the curate may want to run in the race with you.

    Instead, you will soon discover the real reason for the existence of Total Common Ministry (sometimes Total Ministry or Local Ministry). The real reason is to send hither swarms of Ministers to serve the people, and be edified from their substance.

    When you have a swarm of Ministers capable of saying the magic words (“hoc est corpus meum,” or “hocus pocus”), you will be able to run the race (in the full meaning given to it by St. Paul, of course), properly cool down and shower in the rectory afterwords, and then arriving at the church refreshed and dry for a later service.

    You need to know how to plan for the future of your ministry and your congregation.

  3. Solange De Santis says:

    Now you know how I feel, Tim, when I lived in Canada and played Thursday night ice hockey with a bunch of equally-ponderous adults … and I would sometimes go to the local rink on other days to keep up the skating skills … and little tiny children (mostly boys) would whoosh and whish around me. If I could have caught them, what I would have done …


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