With each consecutive birthday I realise I am getting older. It has crept up on me without me actually being aware of it, but I occasionally miss the t.v. news because I have momentarily drifted off to rest my eyes a little! I have discovered in amazement at how often the Bible speaks to issues relating to the older person. In some ways for me it is a comforting    realisation. Of Moses it was said, “Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigour had not abated” (Deut 34:7).

Although we now live in quite a different world from the one in which biblical writers lived, they still offer that eternal wisdom that speaks to every age and it doesn’t hurt to ponder those pearls of wisdom from time to time.

In order to avoid patronising and distasteful terms for older people, “Third and Fourth Agers” may seem appropriate. Third Agers are active, vibrant and still involved in life. It is a time for new investment of energies, redirection and spiritual growth. The last third of life can be the richest part of our span of years. Fourth Agers, whose numbers are spiralling, may well have limited      mobility and suffer debilitating illness. Ordinarily, Fourth Agers may be in residential care, although I am struck with wonder that so many will stay in their own homes, provided with occasional care. This span is a personal passage into dependence and frailty.

I have not yet reached this stage in my life, however, I realise that ageing does not happen on one’s 65th birthday. It happens to all of us, and happens as soon as we are born. A changing life profile confronts all the modern nations of the world, which are evolving from youthful to mature societies. The United Nations expects that by 2050 there will be nearly two billion people in the world 60 years or older, and by that same year, one in every five person s living will be 60 or older.

I think it was Carl Jung who believed that the later years were a prime time for growth and fulfilment, rather than a pitiful   appendage to life’s morning. For Jung, the second half of life was a spiritual journey.

One of the lessons I have learnt is that as people we cannot grow towards wholeness or fight our way through the challenges of ageing alone. We learn that finding strength in God will make our struggles easier. As we begin another season of Lent can we make one of our Lenten disciplines, learning to journey with Christ as we ask the question: Is there any word from the Lord for me today? Search the scriptures to savour the timeless wisdom for people of any age, but particularly those in later years.    You might even like to tell me what you discovered!

Shalom, Graeme Munro ,Interim Moderator



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