On Sunday, I ran the 5K. The numbers for me and my three sons stretched from 204 to 207. My time was 20:56 (so, the 20 and the two numbers in between the 4 and 7). When my mother read some of the biographical information that she could find on St Sebastian (related to my tattoo) she found that his feast day is January 20. Again, the number 20. So, while walking my dog this evening around 9, I used my iPhone to search for a verse that might be relevant to my life right now and I came up with John 20:4-7. From the New American Bible Revised Edition:
"They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place."
Let's see. A direct mention of my confirmation name in verse 20:4 (I was number 204). A direct mention of running in verse 20:4. I think this was meant to be pondered. And certainly beyond the two interesting but otherwise inconsequential coincidences of chapter 20 verse 4.
Why did this capture my attention? Well, I have written about a verse similar to this before as it is an Easter verse. However, right now here is what it makes me think of. First, mystery. While I am 42, I still find life a mystery. I still find my efforts to get my commitments in life under control a mystery that I have difficult solving. And I know that I should place my trust in God--as John did more quickly in the verses that followed Peter's initial discovery.
Second, this is about the Resurrection of Jesus. It led to a second chance for humanity. We all need second chances sometimes. (And third and fourth...) As a professional, I am trying to reduce the number of times I need to ask for second chances after committing to too many things. But it is nice to know that we have them. We don't always get them with colleagues. We don't always get them with those we love or those with whom we are friends. But God gave humanity a second chance at life in God's presence forever that we can always access if we are truly contrite about transgressions and we make every effort to walk in the way of the Lord.
So, this set of verses which makes me think of mysteries and second chances seems just about right for pondering as I continue to think about the meaning of the many choices I have made in my life. And the improvements I continue to hope to make so that I can continue in my success and have fewer disappointments along the way--no matter how much those disappointments can teach important lessons.