The prophets knew this thousands of years ago: we become like what we worship. We might think we don't worship, but I'm here to tell you that the way you spend your life is the way you worship. We all worship. Each of us ascribes worth to things by giving our time, our money, and our attention to them.
It's tempting to give our attention to monsters, to worship the devils that the news cameras follow breathlessly through the streets. It is tempting to worship our fears, to let the things that could steal, or maim, or kill become the focus of our attention. It is tempting to hold the horrors in our hearts until we form them into perfect idols. If that weren't tempting, the news would look very different.
Avoiding idolatry - by which I mean worshiping things that are not worthy of our precious lives and attention - takes a conscious and sustained effort.
It requires us to remember not the horror but the joy. It requires us to give up the cramped life of fear and to stretch ourselves in the exuberance of being alive, of having a body.
At their best, this is what marathons are about: exultation in the gift of living an embodied life.
So run with me. Shake off the terrors, and feel your muscles, your bones, your sinewed vitality. Wherever you are, get out there and feel a little of what the marathoners were feeling as they ran, the hard-earned joy of running, the joy of feeling alive with other people.
Let me add that I'm not an accomplished runner, so don't expect me to lead the pack. This will be a run, not a race. If you want to walk with us, push a stroller, or whatever lets you feel the joy of being alive, come and join us. Bring your joy.