18 Oct Deaconess Corner – Define Elderly
Okay, so I hear all the time that we are an “elderly” congregation. Define elderly. I think most would say it is old in age, but also implying old age comes with slowness in body and mind, leaky heart valves, arthritis, weak knees, and a million other decreased bodily functions. Others might define elderly as the winter years or the last years or the years of endings. Sounds negative and rather sad; discouraging and a little scary. But, we shouldn’t let someone else’s definition define us individually nor as a congregation.
While it’s true, many in our congregation have higher age numbers, a more positive way to define elderly would be: the golden years, a time for new adventures, a time to be free to do the things you didn’t have time for before, a time of reflection, a time for atonement, time of sharing and caring.
Whether we are younger or older, each of us is unique and special with particular God given talents and gifts. The more years we live the more time we have to use these talents and gifts to serve God and others. I see this in our congregation. The retired are not retired from life or service. Indeed, many are busier than ever and many Hope programs could not grow or sustain without their time, energy and various other support.
As a church we need and want members who are younger than our average age group. There are many benefits in having young adults, families and children as part of our church family. We can all learn from one another and serve together to share and spread the Good News of Jesus the Christ to a desperate hurting world.
Hope’s younger members can learn through the sharing of the accumulated life experiences and spiritual journey of our older members. Hope’s older members can learn from the young members how to understand the modern world from their view and how to be better witness and touch the younger population with Jesus’ love and compassion.
We have more seniors in our congregation, it is not a negative. They are witnesses of God’s unfailing presence and love in times of despair, in times of overwhelming sadness, in times of trial, in times of decision making and in times of joy, success and great happiness.
So, what do I say to those who say we have an elderly congregation? “Define elderly!”
Psalm 92:12-15 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.