Past, Present, and Future
Spend some time during these early days of 2018 reminiscing on the AH-HA Moments you have had in 2017 …and get ready for many more AH-HA Moments to come!
Here are some of my AH-HA reflections as I continue to celebrate God’s gift of aging:
- The growing number of books being published regarding the whole area of aging. One new one to mention is “”This is getting old: Zen thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity”, by Susan Moon. A quote to tease you: “A senior moment is a stop sign on the road of life….Stay calm, let the engine idle, and enjoy the scenery. I say, Senior moment, wonderful moment, to remind the people around me of the wisdom that is to be found in these little coffee breaks of the brain.”
- The on-going and creative older adult ministries being developed by ALOA, the Center for Gerontology – Concordia University-Chicago, the Next Avenue website from PBS stations that inspire the 50+ generation to live meaningful, vibrant, lives” (nextavenue.org )
- People like Pastor Walt Schoedel who has been churning out the newsletter, “Engaging the Aging” for lo these many years. Thanks, Walt, we will miss your wit, wisdom, and winsomeness, as this resource will no longer be produced. Walt, you are a real Winner !
- The United Methodist National Church office, through Pastor Will Randolph, who continues to develop excellent models and resources for older adult ministries.
- The many congregations who are becoming marvelous models of how “to do” older adult ministries, not only through programs and resources but also by changing the mindset and climate so that the people of God see the aging process as a blessing to celebrate rather than a burden to bear!
To name only a few: Trinity Lutheran Church, Mission, Kansas – Tom Perry, older adult staff person; Trinity Lutheran Church, Bloomington, Il – Mary Bloebaum, Family Life Ministry; and Jerry Reinertson, Faith Community Lutheran Church, Las Vegas, NV. More and more Christian congregations are finally taking seriously the possibilities, gifts, and presence of older adults who are ready and will to serve and celebrate their faith!
- Older Adult Ministries are not only growing and thriving in the U.S. but also throughout the world. For example , in Bethlehem, Palestine, the Ajyal (older adults) program is flourishing as Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem, provides opportunities for service, volunteering, community development, and other activities for the older adult population. A laundry has been started to provide wages for people while at the same time giving older adults meaningful ways to serve others.
- The increasing number of “mentoring” groups that are popping up all over the country, many of them housed in the local “St. Arbucks”. What a joy to experience and see the olders gathering together with the youngers for meaningful conversations and to develop stronger relationships.
- More and more people are taking the celebrating of God’s gift of aging more seriously. Look around you and become involved yourself at the congregation, family, and community levels. And if those kinds of conversations aren’t happening around you, this just might be the perfect time for you to start the dialogues flowing!
- There is a growing sense that older adult ministry is at its best when people of all ages are able to grow, experience, learn, and share together. And let me then add that he worship service is the best place for this to happen….where God’s people of all ages gather around Word and Sacrament and celebrate together god’s gift of aging for all people! What a novel New Testament idea!
- And finally, I thank the Lord as He continues to gather around me people of all ages who love, forgive, listen, encourage, nudge, console, support, and care for this 77 1/3 year old person, me, as I celebrate each day as a gift to celebrate and a gift to serve with others!
May this day, and this year, continue to be AH-HA days for all of us, in the Lord of the younger and the Lord of the older as well!