URC Daily Devotion Thursday September 30, 2021

Thursday September 30, 2021
Running witnesses
St Matthew 28:1-10
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’


Mary Magdalene and ‘the other’ Mary (Luke‘s gospel records Joanna and other women too) are often described as the first evangelists, telling the good news of Jesus’ resurrection to his spiritual family.  They are also part of a very select group of runners found in the Bible!

We read of Elijah, who runs faster than Ahab’s chariot for perhaps a 17-mile (27km) journey.  Paul encourages us to run the race and Isaiah tells us to wait on the Lord so we can run and not grow weary.  John’s account of the resurrection mentions that he and Peter had a race to get to the empty tomb first.

Before all this talk of running wears you out or inspires you to pop out for a jog, I would like to suggest that effective witnesses of the Christian faith demonstrate some characteristics of running witnesses like Mary Magdalene.

Mary ran with purpose. She had a message and she wasn’t going to dawdle. Are you waiting for the perfect conditions before you take action? The starting pistol has already fired!

Mary ran with fear and joy to the people that Jesus directed her to. It’s common to have mixed feelings in our Christian witness, but remember to love. Where is Jesus directing you to run?

Mary ran with her eyes and ears open, and stopped when she saw an opportunity. Be responsive to the situations you find yourself in. Opportunities to demonstrate the love of God with our actions and our words can come when we least expect it.

One of the key priorities of the Joint Public Issues Team in the past twelve months has been ‘Staying Alert to Justice’. It might be impossible to predict what challenges will come next, but our intention is to keep listening, loving and responding quickly, and working with others as part of a marvellous running witness relay.

Will you run with us?


Loving God,
Run with us,
to the lonely, to the forgotten,
to the fed up, to the despairing,
to those who can’t cope,
to those who’ve lost hope,
to those who need a hug,
to those who need a miracle.
Run with us, while you sit with them.


Today’s writer

Roo Stewart is Programme Support Officer for Church and Society within the URC’s Mission Team and a member of the Joint Public Issues Team.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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