It's difficult to say what's harder about running the distances at this point: the distance themselves, or scheduling the day. Both Saturday and Sunday present unique personal problems.
Saturday is the catch-up domestic day -- cleaning, planning the next week's shopping, working with Michael to outline the family budget -- plus fine-tuning business affairs (read: rehearsal) with Kingdom Impact Theater and social media consultations. For good measure, I'll toss in the laundry (you can only run in the same clothes so many days before they start to run you), and my kick-back girlfriend Facetime with our stressed-out college junior.
She's Every Woman
Michael says this schedule, coming at the end of my 9-to-after-5 work week, explains the subliminal reason why my VikkiThon Playlist includes Whitney Houston's classic anthem: "I'm Every Woman." I disagree. I've always loved the song, found Whitney and inspiration in my own music, and, frankly, find myself sad whenever I think about how her life transpired. Of how her talent was misused.
So, sometimes, looking at the domestic agenda I consider moving the long run to Sunday. Not my preference. One, if I delay to Sunday, what if it rains? Then the weekend training is a wash (I think that's a latent Michael pun). Second, if it rains or not, running Sunday creates elaborate church plans.
Many of the churches we visit or perform have early services -- in the 9-10 AM hour. To make one that starts at 11 means scheduling the morning so that I finish 12-18 miles with enough time to clean up, change clothes and get me to the church on time without being offensive. I know Jesus says, "Come as you are," but I have a personal problem with fallin' up into church just as I am with three or four hours of perspiration oozing from me. The people might take me "Just As I Am," but I have a problems not imagining sitting next to someone who breaks into "Get the Funk Out My Face" when "Friend of God" is the greet-one another song.
Cleaned or not, sometimes we don't make it to church; and if we do, even having cleaned up after a three-hour tour, a comfortable pew and a silent prayer are clear and present dangers. I pray for a preacher who is not sonorous, I and a prompting from the Holy Spirit, or Michael's elbow, to stay alert.
Music helps, too.
Scripture in the Lyrics
Looking over the Vikkithon Playlist, and reviewing previous posts I know I've chosen many songs that are not traditional church songs. The truth is, many are difficult to run to. Most would be cool down and stretch tunes.
At the same time, I adore the traditional church songs -- meaning the ones Michael, Garlan or I grew up hearing, or that were taught to us by the old people at church -- with a new bent. New funk. Or, in the words of one of my favorite gospel rappers, T-Bone, songs with some "stank."
When the "stanky" old school songs come up, I can "have church" no matter what day of the week, or how tired I am during the run or after the run.
The beat and the rhythm, naturally, help...even after the run, like when I recuperated after the 10K Gospel Run in June when blocks of South Shore Beach in Chicago became a Saturday morning concert propelling the runners and walkers on shore and into Lake Michigan.
But, as a songwriter myself, I'm most moved by the words, especially words from Scripture.
When I'm at church in the congregation, or leading musical worship, I often appreciate the access to hymnals that point out specific Bible passages that may be heard or referenced. I've heard many critiques of modern worship music (and some old beloveds) that lament not the style of music, but errant depth of theology in the lyric. I've found it helpful to mention Scripture or even including the Scripture citation on the screen with projected lyrics because it helps counter theological criticism, and also informs new and long-time church goers that God's hand is on the lyrics, not just a gifted human wordsmith.
Strong and Mighty
So, for musical and theological reasons, I am inspired by Eddie James' "Strong and Mighty." I was first introduced to the song by the Bellevue Baptist Church choir, which Garlan directs. I've sung the tune with Bellevue, as part of the choir, and congregation.
I didn't connect that it was based in the King James Version of Psalm 24 and employs verses 4-7 in the lyrics until I saw the video with the words (the idea of music videos with lyrics is wonderful, and corrects lots of misinterpretations). Use them to introduce a song when you can. We'll write about that later.
No matter what the rest of the soundtracks include, or no matter how badly the weekend has gone, old school church music like this have a special place and let's me remember The Lord Is Running with me no matter what day of the week.