OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — Some runners, some volunteers, family, congregation; they all went to church on Saturday this week.
First United Methodist sits on 4th and Robinson in Oklahoma City, which made regular services impossible because of the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon.
But many of these people came for another reason, to have their running shoes, and gloves too, blessed by pastors Lesly Broadbent and Nick Lee.
“We’ve done the Blessing of the Shoes for a number of years,” says Pastor Broadbent.
Pastor Lee adds, “Shoes, gloves, hats. You name it.”
There are actually two churches than now use this building.
Both drew on its unique history which dates back to 1889 and followed a timeline than included urban renewals and the 1995 Murrah Bombing.
As hundreds of worshipers brought their shoes up to the alter Saturday evening both ministers drew on that history and the church’s role in providing hope and prayer.
Broadbent says, “This church really believed that God chose this corner for us.”
In his message Pastor Lee said, “We’re not just running and serving because it’s a good day to run. We’re running and serving to serve notice to evil and darkness that we will remain.”
Outside, Mary McDaniel and Texie Fernandes were glad they came to get their shoes blessed.
“We will run with God’s speed tomorrow,” said Fernandez.
“My feet are already tingling,” said Mary.
“There you go girlfriend!” added Texie.
Sunday morning came especially early.
25,000 runners, 6,000 volunteers showed up, and many more lined up to give there own kind of blessings to participants.
A few of them carried a little extra assurance for this race, shoes and gloves being the particular instruments through which we all run the race God sets out for us.
The finish line just happens to take runners past a church that continues to offer blessings to anyone who steps inside.