are we running with you, Jesus?

Are You Running With Me, Jesus? is the title of a book published by Episcopal priest Malcolm Boyd in 1965, fifty years ago. It is a book of prayers reflective of the turbulent 1960’s in which Boyd speaks directly to Jesus in everyday, casual language about society and the struggles people face. Boyd published a revised edition ten years ago (with the cigarette omitted from the cover photo) that to me did not have quite the edge of the original.

MalcomBoydThe inversion in the above title is courtesy of the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Are we running with you, Jesus? was the title of a workshop she did for the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi in August, as well as a sermon she preached at All Saints’ on a recent Sunday. The reversal does justice to Boyd. He himself published a book in 2000, now out of print, entitled Running with Jesus.

Susan makes the point in her sermon that Boyd’s prayers from 1965 are as relevant today as they were in 1965. She’s correct. She reads from the book:

quoteHere I am in church again, Jesus.

I love it here, but, as you know, for some of the wrong reasons. I sometimes lose myself completely in the church service and forget the people outside whom you love. I sometimes withdraw far, far inside myself when I am inside church, but people looking at me can see only my pious expression and imagine I am loving you instead of myself.

Help us, Lord, who claim to be your special people. Don’t let us feel privileged and selfish because you have called us to you. Teach us our responsibilities to you, our community, and to all the people out there. Save us from the sin of loving religion instead of you.

Yes. I could do worse than to run with Jesus.