Ezra 3: People couldn’t distinguish the shouting from the weeping.
Joining the young adventurers in returning to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem are some who, as young children, saw the Temple before its destruction. When they hear of the expedition to Jerusalem they bravely sign up to return to the land of their birth. These people have stories to tell of what life was like in Jerusalem before it was destroyed. When they stand before the pile of stones that was the center piece of the city their memories are almost more than they can bear. More than anyone else these senior adults realize all that’s been lost. Now, as the foundation for the new Temple is being laid and the dedication celebration is taking place, the younger people shout in excitement. These “remember-ers,” however, begin to weep aloud. Their weeping is a mixture of sadness and joy. They join with the younger people in rejoicing over prospect of the place of worship being rebuilt but they’re saddened as they remember just how much has been lost. The rebuilding of the Temple means a return to God. For the younger people, this is something new and thrilling. It takes the senior adults, those who’ve been “around the block” a few times, to fully appreciate the power of this event. As I hear these white-haired people weeping aloud I’m reminded of the depth some precious “senior saints” provide to my life.
Take Away: Senior Christians offer a depth of perspective that won’t come from any other source.
Hats off to those who are “very old”
Luke 2: She was by now a very old woman.
Jesus is now eight days old and his parents take their newborn to the nearby Temple in Jerusalem for the rite of passage for every Jewish boy. Lots of people spend their days at the Temple. Some are there as doing jobs and others are simply devout people who’d rather be there than anywhere else. On this day we meet two senior citizens who are Temple regulars. One is a kindly old gentleman who loves baby dedications. He spends his time hanging out in the area where that takes place congratulating parents and asking if he can take a peek at their eight day old boys. The other is a sweet but reclusive woman who spends her days in the Court of Women. Lots of people see her there because this is where the offerings are given, but she’s generally off to the side and out of the flow, head bowed in prayer. When Joseph and Mary bring baby Jesus to the Temple, Simeon heads straight to them. There’s purpose in his walk and he gently asks if he can hold the baby. With tears in his eyes he praises God. Joseph and Mary are speechless and thrilled with this event. Then, the other senior saint shows up. Aged Anna joins them and starts singing a wonderful song of praise to God. The official baby dedication by the priest hasn’t yet happened, but these two senior adults who are so in tune with God do the most important part of the dedication on this day. As I look back over my life and think of folks who are best connected to the Lord I’m not surprised to find that they’re all older people. I’m a strong believer in God’s transforming works of grace in our lives but I also understand that maturity and spiritual depth only comes over time. When a person who’s faithfully walked with the Lord for 80 years has something to say we’re smart to listen.
Take Away: The only way to become a mature Christian is to be a faithful Christian for a long time.