Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Gospel To The Gray-Headed

God has always been concerned for the aged. He laid down certain manners to guide his people. In his own law the LORD prescribes, "you shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man" (Lev. 19:32).


Unfortunately, my children are growing up in a culture preoccupied with staying young. There is nothing wrong with diets, workout machines, pretty actors, or even Botox. However, as we idolize the young (and naive) we marginalize the old (and wise). Too often, we sanitize our culture of anything resembling aging and death. One result is that a child does not "bear the yoke in his youth" (Lam. 3:27). He does not see that "all flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field...the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever" (Is. 40:6, 8).


Another result of noticing only peers in our culture is that our children miss the life-enriching opportunities to show Christ's love to the elderly. This is a growing burden of my heart. If the Church would have "religion that God our Father considers as pure and faultless" then prominent upon our agenda should be "looking after...widows in their distress." Surely this includes the frustrations and challenges of a modern-day nursing facility. Let us consider letting our light shine in these places. Health care professionals are also in need of perspective and encouragment amidst their sometimes tedious work. Old folks can be cantankerous, and their caretakers need to be reminded of their sacred duty to care for these precious (though difficult!) human beings.