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Pastor's Corner: Mile markers and memories of faith

A circuit rider pastor has a lot of "windshield time" to pray and to ponder ... pondering can take some mighty strange directions at times. While driving down the highway, I wondered, " How many mile markers there are in Montana?" I googled the Montana Transportation webpage ... there are 13,271-mile markers in our state ... Now, that's a lot of highway!

We don't pay much attention to the mile markers unless we need roadside assistance. But in that moment of describing the nearest mile marker so that the tow-truck can find us - we know they are important! Mile markers also alert us to exits and entrances on our way to destinations. And, with a little math, they silently answer the question, "How much further to ______ ?

We treat the mile markers of our lives - days that turn into weeks, months, years - in a similar fashion. We don't pay much attention to the days (our mile markers) until it "gets personal." The average life expectancy in USA is 79 years, so we may wake up to a new day 28,855 times. That's a lot of mile markers!

As a faith community, we sing, "This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice in it!" We trust that God loves all of us each and every day of our lives. In a world of 7+ billion people ... that's a lot of mile markers! Moreover, Jesus commanded us to love each other, so we also get to "make the miles personal" for God's beloved children - for all of them, all of the time.

The Mile Markers we remember usually involve our important relationships - with God and each other. Many of those Mile Markers happen in church, don't they? Do you remember praying and confessing that you needed God's Love and Mercy? Was it sudden or more gradual that you "followed" Jesus, making him your Lord, Teacher and Friend every day of your life? Do you remember Baptisms - yours or others? Do you recall making a Profession of Faith as you were confirmed into membership in the Church?

Many of us forget the details or the events over time ... but I bet you do remember how you felt when your church family told you they cared about you! Did they give you Bibles, camp and graduation awards? Do you recall those who prayed for you. Who sang off-key, 'Happy Birthday To You'? What about that day you exchanged marriage vows, "for better or worse, for rich or for poor"? Have you wept tears, saying "goodbye" and "thank you" to pastors, friends and college students when leaving for new destinations? Don't we especially remember those who have passed into God's arms on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and All Saints Day? Our prayers and songs continue, expressing our love, faith and hope in the Mile Markers across that heavenly border, too. We experience the Love and Grace of God through our life together.

Jesus promised that he would always be with his disciples - that includes us today, too!

" ... for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5b

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them". Matthew 18:20

"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20b

As you travel the miles along the highways and paths of your life's journey, may you note the mile markers and know that you never travel that road alone. Christ is with us! Alleluia!

--

The Rev. Dr. Sue King,

Pastor of United Methodist Churches in Havre, Chester and Big Sandy, Montana

 

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