Today, the 1st October 2020, is a day to celebrate what it means to be an older person.
The news at the moment often seems to point to the difficulties of ageing at this time – the increasing health conditions, the higher risk of Covid, the impact of lockdown and isolation on older people, the strains on the health and social care system which are so vital to support people as they age and during this pandemic. Our culture and the news at this time seems to sum up older people as: ill, lonely, vulnerable and needing support.
And yet…the older people who I am in contact with and perhaps you are too, are SO much more than this. They are interesting and interested people, living full lives, cultivating friendships and family relationships, actively pursuing hobbies and interests, remaining curious about the world around them. They have faced many hardships in their lives so far and they are resilient, offering support and smiles to others around them. They are independent where they can be, and interdependent where they can’t, keen to engage, full of ideas, fun, experience and knowledge. Each person different, each one a life still being lived.
The Bible provides some positive viewpoints on getting older: Job 12:12 says ‘ Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old’. Proverbs 20: 29 states ‘The glory of the young is their strength, the grey hair of experience is the splendour of the old’. Leviticus 19:32 exhorts people to ‘Rise in the presence of the aged and honour the elderly face to face’.
The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1 v 8-9 reminds us that God will continue to be at work in each of us until the very end: ‘He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’. There is still growth to be pursued, and faith to be lived out, however old we are!
So, let’s remember that there is more to older people in our community and congregation than there might first appear to be and let’s celebrate the splendour of grey hair and experience!
The best thing about getting older is… join in the debate by either downloading or picking up your puzzle piece. To help us do this, we would like to create a display about positive ageing and what this means to you… using puzzle pieces which join together to show how the older members of our community are all different but connected! If you consider yourself an ‘older person’, please have a think about how you would finish the following sentence: ‘The best thing about getting older is…’ add it to the jigsaw puzzle piece and decorate it however you would like to (this link HERE takes you to the puzzle piece which can then be be printed out). If you would like to add your name, please feel free to do so, but not compulsory!
From Sunday 4th October in the afternoon, there will be a box to drop your puzzle piece in at the MBC car park, and we will also have blank puzzle pieces available to take away for you to fill in at home if you are not able to print them out. We will also get puzzle pieces posted to people who aren’t able to get to MBC and find a way for them to be returned.
Finally, there are lots of events taking place on Zoom and some in person in Leeds over the coming week to celebrate the International Day of Older People and here is the link to find out more simply by clicking HERE
May you know God’s blessing and closeness this week, whatever your age, wisdom or experience.
Carole Smith, Seniors’ Worker