Forming Faith Blog

Never Too Old (September 20, 2020)

Age did not stop Abram and Sarai from accepting God’s call and contributing something valuable to the world. So too we need to make sure to value the gifts of the seniors in our midst.

A young hand holding an older person's hand.

Last week, we encountered God creating the first humans and them rejecting God’s Word. Despite their disobedience, God did not give up on humanity. At the proper time, God chose one family, Abram and Sarai, to be the bearers of a new promise.

Old Age

God called Abram and Sarai from their home to a new land, promising them this land and a nation arising from them to settle it. However, this couple was closer to retirement (in the modern world) than young adulthood. Abram was 75 and Sarai was 65 (given the age difference found in Genesis 17:17). Not exactly spring chickens. But their age didn’t bother God. The promise made to them would be fulfilled. To say that they still had much to give the world would be a complete understatement.

Disregard and Isolation

No statement is absolute, but overall our modern American culture (probably many others, but this is what I’m familiar with), does not highly value the contributions of our elders as much as many times in the past (and other cultures around the world). We can too easily disregard “old people” in our own families, even if we do not intend to. This can lead to feelings of isolation and other negative mental health effects in seniors. Any regular feelings of isolation have been magnified by the social distancing necessary during this pandemic.

Care and Value

While most of us will not lead a nomadic existence in the fourth quarter of our lives nor give birth at 90 years old, everyone has something valuable to contribute to our community, especially in the Body of Christ. Our value does not come from our actions or contributions; that comes from the God-given dignity, the image of God within each of us. However, our history, our wisdom, our insight, our very being can enrich the community to which we belong, no matter how old we are.

Here is a challenge for you:

  • If you lead (or contribute to) a ministry directed at children, youth, and/or families, make building meaningful relationships with seniors a core part of your mission.
  • If you lead (or contribute to) a ministry for seniors, make building meaningful relationships with children, youth, and/or families a core part of your mission.
Stress and Intergenerational Ministry

What this looks like will depend greatly on your context. I also understand that many of you are doing your best now to just keep your head above water. If you don’t have the time or energy to really focus on this right now, write a note on your calendar for when you will have the energy.

Free Resource

Each week I provide a free resource that faith formation leaders can use as they prepare for the upcoming week, usually an activity from one of our products. This week, you can download and distribute our Living the Word: Sharing God’s Story @ Home (Narrative Lectionary) devotional resource for the week beginning September 20th. While we often refer to these weekly resources as “bulletin inserts” they are in no way limited to a physical worship bulletin! Each week is a single-page PDF file that gives suggestions for prayer, daily Bible readings, conversation starters, and blessings to share. And this is flexible enough to be used by individuals and families, younger and older.

In God’s love,

Gregory Rawn (Publisher)

Our Faith Formation Resources

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