I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2)
Since I’m a “numbers” guy, it would make sense that turning sixty years old (or 50 … or 70 God-willing) should be a big deal. The greeting card industry suggests it is, given the number of cards available that deal with turning 60. But I have honestly never been very excited in a good or bad way, for birthday’s that represent the turn of a decade. I felt old four years ago when my grandson was born, because I didn’t feel old enough to be a grand-father. I felt old a little over five years ago when I had my hip replaced, because … well … hip-replacements are surgeries for old people. I even entertained the thought of being old ten years ago, when I realized that the “older pastor” I admired, (who was my intern supervisor at the time, and later became the senior pastor I served with, our own Pastor Geib), was fifty years old when I first met him. But I don’t really feel any older today than I did two days ago … or two weeks ago … or two years ago.
My sense is that “events” become the moments in time that define our lives. And they tend to be events that involve people we love and cherish … people that are a significant part of our lives. (Pause here for a moment and think to yourself about what milestone events have helped to define turning points in your life.) In some cases they also may be national or world-wide events. 9/11 may be one of those days for you … or D-Day … or day when the Berlin Wall came down … or the day the Cubs won the World Series.
In a related way, consider the big moments in your faith life that define you … your baptism … your first communion … your confirmation … your marriage … the funeral service of a beloved parent or child or grandparent. Those are the obvious ones. But maybe you have experienced a spiritual awakening at some point in your faith journey … or survived a “wilderness experience” … or found your life impacted by the opportunity to meet a spiritual giant int he world. In similar ways these events shape you and forge your spiritual identity at a unique and powerful moment in time.
So in this coming week of prayer and reflection, why don’t you give some time to those moments that have made you into the child of God you are. Consider what might be different in your spiritual life had those moments not occurred. Think about the opportunities for growth in faith and life that they provided. Reflect on those holy moments which might have been some of times when you felt the closest (or farthest) from God, and how that experience shaped your faith walk into the path it takes today. Whether those moments in time make you feel like the aged Methusaleh breaking break with Abraham, or the young David tending his sheep, know that your life has been touched by the hand of God.