Sarah Hill shares her experience of reflecting on transformation this week with the “Icons of Hope” activity. She honors the witness of strong women who have inspired her, identifying how they embody the gifts God has given them.
Transcript: Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’ve been reflecting this past week on the theme of transformation, and specifically how to transform and challenge unjust structures in our society.
The initial issue that I am thinking about is the issue of racial violence in the U.S. happening right now. And I feel very strongly that I want to and pray that I can in some way contribute to pushing against that, and challenging it, and transforming it. However, the issue and what I chose to reflect on this past week was the power and the empowerment of courageous and strong women that have personally inspired me. One of those women is Missy Copeland who is an absolutely beautiful and courageous and strong ballerina who has overcome lots of prejudice and lots of personal challenges, including age and how her body is perceived. And I have had this on my wall for the past week as I prepare for the San Francisco Marathon and she’s been very inspiring to me.
And I tried to reflect on what particularly is so inspiring about people like Missy. And for me it is that she is embodying the gifts that God has given her so fully, and with so much strength, that the light just shines out from her. And she shares God’s joy and God’s light with everyone who she is able to connect with and to reach.
So my prayer is that I can in some way embody and just take on and live into the gifts that God has given me in a way that is so powerful that I can’t help but share God’s light through the action of doing that.
So I wanted to reflect on Hebrews 12:1 and this is a powerful verse for me that I am going to carry with me to the marathon and then also throughout the whole marathon. It speaks about a cloud of witnesses surrounding you and I have felt that so much during this past training cycle both through my running mates, my friends, everyone who has loved and supported me through the process.
I also resonate with the idea of setting aside the weight and the sins. To physically run such a distance, and to put your body through such a huge challenge, you have to address, sometimes painfully, the habits and the weights that you carry with you to transform your body and to transform your ability to run such a distance.
So ultimately, we’re doing this for the sake of God’s joy and the promise of joy with God. So I will finish with this verse from the Bible, Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely. And let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of joy that was set before Him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Thank you and I hope that you enjoy and get as much out of this exercise as I did.
– Sarah Hill
Icons are images that open us up. They act as windows that let the light of God shine in. This week’s activity invites you to compose your own “icon” for the Kingdom of God. Draw or paste in pictures that help you recall God’s vision, to create a collage that lets God’s light shine in.