I am a baby boomer in serous denial. I have a difficult time admitting . . . that I am a senior citizen. It pains me to admit I cannot do the things I did 30 years ago. I used to run 3-5 miles a day. (Now...I walk 2-3 miles every other day.) 20 years ago, I climbed 40 feet up into trees for the purpose of pruning them. (Now...it's a huge challenge to clean my gutters.) I remain a party-animal. However, things are different. 30 Years ago...I partied with my friends till the wee hours of the morning . . . often seeing the sun rise! (Now...I like to get into bed before 11:45!) Last Fall, while getting into our sailboat...I over-extended my hamstring muscle in my left leg –-- and it took two months to heal! Ouch! I try to minimize my 'senior anxiety' by saying I am getting 'older' –- NOT –-- getting 'old'. But the anxiety is not assuaged!
When I turned 65 some time ago, I took a vital and youthful 87 year-old friend and colleague out to lunch to seek his wisdom, counsel and advise. I asked him: “What's your secret of staying so young, vital, and productive?” His response was pastoral, practical and prophetic. He said,
“A person gets old when he ceases to stay active, keep thinking,
keep growing, and keep serving. So, I make it my mission to stay
active, keep thinking, keep growing, and keep serving!”
This...let me suggest...is not only a strong and practical 'word' for individuals.
It is a strong and practical 'word' for churches . . . this church . . . The United Presbyterian Church of Millstone. Fact: The majority of our people are seniors. But our challenge is this: NOT to act old! But to be...and act...young! Recall the words of my friend...again... and insert 'church' for 'person':
“A church gets old when it ceases to stay active, keep thinking,
keep growing, and keep serving.”
So . . . my fellow seniors and seniors to-be: Let us make a decision be young and stay young by wrestling with these questions... and...coming up with some real live answers:
(1) How are we as a church staying active . . . and moving toward a BIG vision?
(2) How...and where...are we thinking BIG --- and thinking 'outside the box'?
(3) How are we growing in our faith...as individuals...and a Community of Disciples?
(4) How are we becoming a stronger group of of servants –- one to another and the larger Millstone Community?
Fact: We are all getting older . . . all of us! This is the reality for 21 year-olds. It is the reality for 72 year-olds. But the good news is: We don't have to be old and act old!