Parable of the runner
1. And it came to pass on the seventh day of the week that the sun burst forth upon the City of Lancaster.
2. It shone upon the starting line and upon the multitudes who assembled, ready to run with patience the race that was set before them.
3. And behold, before the hour for the 15th Annual Race Against Racism had approached its appointed time, a great cloud of witnesses continued to descend from the four corners of the county, some in school buses.
4. They were clothed with strength and dignity, T-shirts and sweat bands.
5. And they made checks out to the YWCA, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
6. And still the throng grew and multiplied. It was an exceedingly great army of 4,580, way more than seventy times seven, in fact, more than had ever run the race. The sight of all those people made the chief development officer rejoice and be glad in it.
7. And then there came forth a great noise that started the race, and, yea, it was heard even in the middle of the pack.
8. And at that moment the breath came into them, and they lived, and moved forward upon their feet, toward McCaskey, toward the rising sun.
9. And it was good.
10. Lo, while there was joy in the morning, some in the crowded pack gnashed their teeth, and they wanted to cry out, "Let me run now!" But the crowd did not part easily to let the swift pass. And so it was that tribulation worketh patience.
11. Now numbered in the multitude was at least one dog on a leash and several children strapped into jogging strollers, one of whom chirpeth, "Goeth, Mommy, goeth! Goeth, Mommy, goeth!"
12. And the mommy, who was training up a child in the way she should go, laboreth mightily. Especially upon the high places around Lincoln Middle School.
13. The mommy was tested, but she was not alone. Not by a long shot.
14. For the prophets say, They shall not thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them to the water station. And those who took the cups drank of the water. And the others who did not thirst dodged the discarded cups that bounceth on the asphalt.
15. So that runners did not lose heart, good people of the city watched from porches and called out words to encourage them and strengthen them.
16. And so that racers shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint, two women brought djembe drums to Lehigh Avenue and they beateth upon them.
17. But they knew not that the rest of the course was mostly uphill.
18. Beloved, I say to you that the race is not just to the swift. It is also to all those who labor and are heavy laden.
19. For we, too, can fight a good fight, finish our course and keep the faith.
20. And when the finish line comes into sight, we will cross it with thanksgiving, but we will not make a joyful noise for straightaway there remains no strength in us, neither is there breath left in us.
21. It is written that the last shall be first and the first last. But I say unto you, The rest of us are fine with being somewhere in the middle.
22. We will finish our course with joy. We will bind up our wounds. And we will think about coming back next year.
23. We will definitely think about it.