The Baton

July 3, 1998
by Mary Daniel

Psalm 119:105 – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

The small application offered a chance at having one's name drawn as a runner in the Queen's Baton Relay across Canada for the Commonwealth Games at Victoria, British Columbia, in August 1994. It seemed like a "one in a million" chance of being picked, but mine was, and my distance was 500 meters.

The baton was magnificently crafted, lovingly and carefully carved in smooth, sleek silver by three First Nations artists. Concealed inside, was a message from the Queen.

We actually ran with a replica in the relay lest something should happen to the original, so it was wrapped in a chamois and held in security on our bus. As each position came up, the next runner would hop off the bus, receive the baton and carry it to the next stop. Something just "took over". Planning to walk, I ran. Horns honked in encouragement; people lined up along the way waved and shouted; little faces looked up, awash in awe as I stopped to let them stroke the baton. I wanted to keep on going.

The last leg of our journey was to take the baton to a little bay where it would be transported by canoe to the next spot. As we walked the last mile together on a gravel road, we were beckoned by the beat of drums, balanced by the beat of our hearts.

There are no words to express my humble joy at the sights and sounds which greeted us as we reached the beach at the end of the road. First Nations elders, women, children, babies, resplendent in their red and black button blankets stood swaying, singing, smiling in anticipation. They had been waiting for us. Young and old danced in a circle, and we had the honour to be included in watching their sacred ceremony as they received and blessed the baton.

There is a message we may all carry without having to see if our names are drawn. It is a King's message. When we receive it, we experience incredible joy; instead of walking, we feel like running. We are encouraged along the way and we want to keep on. That is the message of God's love. The invitation has been extended to each one of us. Once received, we take the risk, accept the journey for whatever distance has been chosen for us, for we know there is a reception beyond perception which awaits us at the end of the road.

Prayer: Be with us in our journey, Lord. Enable us to pass on "The King's Message", that others may know you and share in your perfect peace. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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