I'd sit on the edge of my seat watching as the fuse was ignited and raced toward its end.
"Good morning, Mr. Phelps" began a great adventure that could take a person anywhere in the world, tagging along with the I. M. Force as they rescued diplomats, shut-down would-be tyrants, and prevented what would have otherwise been world chaos.
We could always rest easy at night knowing that, were any problem to arise before morning, Mr. Phelps would go to some isolated pier, pull a rusty box out from underneath a canvas, open it and find a tape player and a manila envelope. The tape player would discuss an assignment from some semi-divine agency that always had the scoop on the world's problems. The envelope always contained recent pictures of persons involved in questionable activity.
The tape always began, "Good Morning, Mr. Phelps ...." and then, somewhere in the message, as the tape rolled on, would come this challenge:
"Your Mission, should you decide to accept it," always took the viewer from Mission Impossible to Mission Accomplished with a cast of diverse characters, ingenuity, luck, and masterful disguises.
A Mission Impossible was what confronted the shepherd Moses that day.
I imagine that the sight of a wildfire didn't exactly catch this senior adult's eye that day. Fires, in and of themselves, weren't that unusual. What made this one different was that, as Old Moses rested his aching joints in the shade of a boulder, he had the opportunity to watch the fire for some time.
And somehow, the fire kept burning.
There was a seemingly endless supply of fuel for this desert mountain inferno and Moses couldn't figure out why. "Maybe it's that my eyes are going bad on me," he thought, as he stood to go investigate.
And then the tape starts rolling.
I believe that, as we look at Moses' experience this morning, we can find several ideas that speak particularly to Senior Adults about living life to its fullest in our older years. You see, Moses is about eighty when he encounters God in the burning bush (Exodus 3:7
But I also believe Moses' experience says a great deal to all of us about how to live our lives with joy and purpose from beginning to end.
Moses provides us with several keys to living impossibly. What is Impossible Living? Abundant, active, on-your-feet, living for God when the world is trying to put you in a rest home. Serving, giving, sacrificial living when many of your contemporaries have died or decided to allow the younger generation to pick up the slack.
The Impossible Mission given to Moses is the same as is given to Senior Adults in every age -- to live with a purpose beyond retirement age. To follow the path of God wherever it might lead our creaking, old bones.
The story is told that someone once asked the man primarily responsible for the Great Awakening, a religious revival that swept our country back in the last century, a question. The man wouldn't stop. He was always going -- to share with a person here about the love of God; to preach at a meeting there; visiting the prisons and hospitals. Always carrying light into the dark places of life.