I’m becoming a regular in a Sunday school class of seniors. It helps balance my time with four and five year olds on Thursday mornings. The seniors delight in hearing about my worship adventures with the young, even as they stretch and bless me in other ways.
Most of my classmates are in their late seventies or eighties and have spent huge blocks of their lives immersed in Scripture and the service of Christ’s church, so it’s an honour doing Bible study with them. Our discussions of the Bible lesson for the day are rich and widely spread. The ease and speed with which these seniors make connections between biblical texts and contexts inspire me to maintain an active engagement with Scripture.
Recently one of them challenged the group on the question of the Christian hope for God’s reign on earth as it is in heaven. A rich and honest conversation ensued in which the eldest of the group encouraged the rest of us by saying “God is active in the world in many ways that we don’t have the eyes to see. Our task is to learn to look.”
In her book, Life After 50[i], Katie Funk Wiebe penned these words: “The elderly’s contribution to spirituality is to bring their measure of confident trust and spirit of grace to the body of Christ. Older believers are the only ones who can teach the next generation that the Christ – way works at every stage of life.” Katie was so right! I didn’t have the eyes to see it when I first read the book 20 years ago, but I am learning to look.
[i] Faith and Life Press, 1993, pg. 13.