When Jesus said that we were to go the extra mile he wasn’t encouraging us to be the best we can. He was teaching us that ordinary people can subvert and undermine imperial power. Best of all, he was teaching us the way of active nonviolence.
In Roman times higher ranking soldiers would buy slaves or animals to carry their gear for them. But the ordinary footsoldiers often couldn’t afford that luxury. Instead, they could force a passer by to carry their kit. The law limited the passage of forced labour to a single mile.
But when Jesus called on people to go the extra mile he wasn’t asking them to be selfless or to assist the empire. Instead, he was encouraging people to put the soldier at risk of punishment for breaking the Roman law.
We don’t have to wait on someone else to fix things for us. We can all start now, with dignity and humanity, to build the realm of heaven on earth.
I’m not one for pushing my faith, I’m a Quaker after all, but if you want to read more about this, Walter Wink’s Jesus and Nonviolence is a great place to start.
One of the things I love about running with other people is that you can have conversations about all sorts of things. About faith, motivations, food, running shoes, our past, our present and our future.
Today was my first 2014 run with three of my colleagues. We didn’t do anything subversive though. We ran from our office to Victoria Park and did one lap around the edge. As you can see from the image above it was a beautiful time to be out running and Victoria Park is pretty special too. While we were out we passed a couple more of our colleagues out on a lunchtime walk.
We have a running joke that because one woman is faster than the rest of us then we should keep asking her questions so she uses up more energy as she answers. In practice, we all talk about everything and nothing.
Janathon stats: 3.16 miles in 28:41.
Moves today so far: 3,216 steps and 5.5k run.
Symon Hill on celebrating revolution at Christmas
Shaz Runs’ Janathon update and having a husband like a film star
Londonist: Victoria Park is the nation’s favourite