living on the edge of the precipice… 1st Lt. Michael Runyan

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Young Michael stands 2nd from L with hat.

Word came early yesterday that 1st. Lt. Michael Runyan, a young soldier had fallen while in Iraq.   My mind began to wander back to my first mission trip.    I took it with our oldest Sarah and a group of incredible students that had welcomed Sarah into their fellowship at another church in our community…1st Presbyterian.  Young Michael was only in 8th grade when we sent off on a really crazy adventure in southwestern Chicago via CSM.  that week was a major turning point in my own journey…that would eventually bring me to vocational ministry as a pastor to students.  To be honest, I’ve lost track of  most of

1st Lt. Michael Runyan

those incredible students.  They’ve grown up and moved on.  But again in honesty I actually thought about that trip and even talked about just a few weeks back when I led my own group of students on our Dare2Serve home mission to Mansfield, Ohio. I had heard Michael and his older brother, Alex both had joined ROTC while in college. I’m not surprised to find that Michael had beome First Lt. Runyan.  I’m saddened at the loss of his young life, by such a tragic turn.  But such is war.

War creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. ~C.S. Lewis

what i remember about Michael and the good work he and the other students accomplished on this trip was they truly did live on the edge of precipice…but it this case it was for Kingdom…they lived large and their living life well invited those of us who were adults to lean in and risk more. We take life for granted and its on days like today, when the news officially arrives that we see life is indeed short and brief.

My life was changed by Michael and those students who risked on that trip 10 years ago.  I pray that Michael’s full measure of devotion and his ultimate sacrifice will be one step in bringing about peace.  Please pray for his family.  Please pray for those that are still serving.

Here’s the news from today’s Ashland Times Gazette:

First Lt. Michael L. Runyan, a 2004 graduate of Ashland High School died Wednesday while serving in Iraq as a member of the Army. Runyan, 24, whose latest address was in Newark, died in Balad, Iraq of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his convoy vehicle with an improvised explosive device in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, according to information from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Runyan is the son of former Ashland County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Runyan and long-time AHS teacher Renee Runyan. He was assigned to the 52nd Infantry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. According to information from the 25th Infantry Division public affairs office, Runyan was deployed for his first tour of duty in late June and was in the middle of his transition period.