Smiling all the way to the end.

On Sunday, Ken and Jane Pierpont retired after 60 years of pastoral ministry. I’m not sure how old they are, but I know that they didn’t start until they were 20, at least. And I know that they didn’t start at this church long past the traditional retirement age of 68.

Ken’s been active, so has Jane. We talked with Ken while he was visiting a hospital a couple years ago, stopping on his way to visit someone in prison. And we read her encouraging words often.

I was doing the math the other day and realized that I will mark 20 years of pastoral ministry this year. With Ken and Jane as models, we’ve got work to do for more than two decades more. And my guess is that people will still be in hospitals and jails then. And still needing someone to show up and smile and listen and pray.

Of course, you don’t have to be old or a pastor to do any of those three things. In fact, when Jesus was talking about seeing him, he talked about people (not just pastors), who were visiting the sick and imprisoned and feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and housing the homeless.

If we all start now, we may not reach 60 years. But Ken and Jane got there one visit, one person, one day at a time.

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Nancy and Hope went to that last service. Hope took a picture of the building where our chaplaincy office is.

What she didn’t know is that at that same moment I was taking a picture of them driving by. Same moment, looking toward each other, thinking about each other, even though we couldn’t see each other.

There’s a lot about love in that, a lot about prayer, too. Looking toward each other, thinking about each other, even when we can’t see each other.

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Some of you have had a chance to read my book about leading services: Giving a Life Meaning: How to Lead Funerals, Memorial Services, and Celebrations of Life. If you have, and you found it helpful, I’d be grateful if you left a review.

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Photo credits: Nancy, Hope, me.

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