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A Wide Place on Birmingham New Mainline canal this morning

It’s been a joy to visit the Birmingham Mainline canal to run again this week. I’ve had some time off because I was too enthusiastic when I restarted last time and aggravated my plantar fasciistis. I am now *much* better informed about stretching and starting back after injury or any sort of break, and how rubbish runners should also pay attention to these things. Reminds me of the time I went for a run for the first time ever, many years ago. I didn’t stretch afterwards because I thought that was only for good runners. Couldn’t walk for days. And didn’t run again for about twenty five years.

I’m still listening on my headphones as I run. I’ve been connecting with my Church of England credentials of late and reading and/or listening to around five psalms daily, following the pattern set out in the Book of Common Prayer (here’s a pdf if you’d like to try it). I have subscribed to the excellent Dwell Scripture Listening app, which has some great readers, and includes the BCP Psalm reading plan (although they don’t mention that it is Cranmer’s one in the app). So I listen to Rosie, with her northern accent, reading the Psalms (nearly) every morning. You can set the app to repeat the reading, which has enabled me to meditate on the Psalms as I get to hear the daily selection at least three times on my short and slow runs.

This morning the whole reading was from Psalm 119 (the entire psalm takes 2½ days of the plan), and the phrase that caught my ear as I meditated was:

and I shall walk in a wide place,

for I have sought your precepts.

Psalm 119:46

I loved that reminder of the space that the Lord provides for his people when they seek him – and his laws. That feeling of freedom that comes when I know that I am following God’s way and not mine. As I run I feel freedom – the space and quiet of the canals in a noisy and busy part of creation. That verse from Psalm 119 spoke to me this morning of God’s generosity and kindness, when we can so easily think of him as placing restrictions and unnecessary boundaries on us. I walked and ran in a wide place this morning – with my slow and creaking body, and in my heart and soul.

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