Do you ever get a tune in your head and you can’t shake it off? You end up humming or singing the words? I find it is the same with a word, and in recent days the word I kept hearing was “wisdom”. It came up in conversation,; I saw in the morning paper, and heard it on the TV3 News. Everywhere I went that word was used.

For twenty years I was chaplain to a retirement complex in a previous Parish. Once at the end of a seminar on ministry to the aged a participant said to me over the concluding afternoon tea, “I have heard a lot of ideas and suggested strategies for ministry with older persons, but the best preparation one can give is to provide role models of creative aging.” It made me think that     ageing remains a mystery to the young. They are ill-equipped to understand their parents, and their grandparents often fade from the scene long before death. So youth grow up without models of graceful ageing.

So, I went to my concordance and found although there are few references in the book of Proverbs to ageing, for instance, the book is full of the wisdom of elders handed down to the next generations. Although the words of proverbs 4 were meant as a father’s legacy to his son, they also typify the wisdom that the older generation needs to leave for the young generation.

Within a year of my “so-called” retirement, I was asked to speak to some young people about guidelines for retirement. From member, these are some of the things I said:

  • Expand your horizons and do things unlike anything else you have done before.
  • Do not go along with what the media and the dominant culture are telling you. Decide for yourself what your mission and life values are.
  • Be rebellious – take some risks.
  • Find a creative balance between remaining active and finding time for your inner life. Being too busy can be a form of             violence against yourself.
  • Be a responsible elder by mentoring someone younger than yourself.

First Church has a rather large chunk of older people. Can I ask: What wisdom are you offering to our younger generation?               The words of Proverbs still ring true, “Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.” Perhaps in this day of increasing longevity we need to add: “Give wisdom to those who are in middle age, and when they are old they will not depart from it.”

Can we think on these things.

Shalom, Graeme Munro









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