This month of October is turning out to be a time of marking several milestones for me. There are some of fairly trivial significance and only of interest to me, and others involving my family and my current ministry. Some were expected and others not.
Many of my friends know that I am a runner. On the first of the month I marked 35 years as a runner, being 35 years since I first wrote an entry into a log and kept track of my mileage and anything else about the run I felt was significant.
I run nearly every day and on the 10th I reached a milestone tangentially related to the first one, being my 1,000th consecutive day of running. My last day off was in January, 2011 and this is the second longest streak I have had. (There is a group for streak runners, located here.)
More importantly is the milestone arriving on the 16th, the sixth anniversary of marriage with Robin. Speaking for myself, because this is my blog, our marriage has been a wonderful adventure. Some parts easy, some parts delightful, some parts hard, but all done together with a sense that our marriage in not merely a joining of two, but of two who seek above all for their marriage to be pleasing to God and to serve him well in the world.
The last of the milestones I want to discuss came last Wednesday, when I conducted my first funeral. My understanding when we came here was that I would find myself conducting more funerals than most of the other pastors in town. For its first 50 years ours was the only church in town and despite the presence of several other churches many people still consider it "their church," whether they have been active in it or not, particularly when it becomes time to remember the passing of their loved ones. Our churches policy is not to turn down any request for a funeral, so on Tuesday evening I learned that I would be doing a funeral on Wednesday morning.
That was fairly short notice but on reflection I think that God was good to me in the way the arrangements worked out. I kept the things of worship fairly basic and traditional, and spent most of my prep time in working on a short sermon. I used John 14 :1-6, where Jesus talks about preparing a place, an eternal place, for his followers, also telling them that following him is the only way to get there,
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me."
Jesus invites us to join him on a journey to a place, an eternal place, that is better than the best destination we could ever imagine. And he provides the only way to get there.
I have no idea what milestones I'm going to pass along the way with him but I am glad to be on the journey.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.