The Sanctity of Life & The Elderly

Picture2For the past year or two, our church has been singing, praying, and interacting with the residents at a local nursing home.  The time spent there has been wonderful, the residents really seem to enjoy our presence, and one individual has been coming to our church for several weeks now–and is even planning to become a member!

This experience has given me cause to think: what other members of our society has our culture/nation denigrated for the sake of convenience, ease, or comfort?  What other members of our church have we neglected, either purposely or in our thoughts about what the church is or does?

We live in a world (not just America) where the mantra is rapidly becoming: “life is worth protecting,but especially mine; children are wonderful, so long as I don’t have to sacrifice money, jobs, success, fun, appearance, or plans for them; marriage is good, so long as I define it; all people are valuable, until they become a drain, a hindrance, a bother, or an interruption to me and my life.”  In all cases the value of life is given lip-service, but ultimately the arbiter of whether its worthy of time, investment, love, and care is the almighty I.  They all have their root in man’s selfishness, and the disregard for God’s word.

“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?…’You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'” -Gen 3:1 & 5

Well, we know good and evil: we define it after all.  And in our knowledge we have surely died.  In fact, we have become the culture of death, not life.  Christians know this.  Most can say they speak out against abortion to coworkers, Facebook friends, and family; we pray about it; and we support crisis pregnancy centers.  And this is good, indeed it’s a must.  But we–as the Church–must likewise show love, care, and justice for all neglected groups, including: the poor (Lev 19:10), the sexually abused, the widow, the orphans (Isa 1:17; James 1:27), the elderly (Lev 19:32; 1 Tim 5:8), the diseased, and the handicapped (Lev 19:14; Matt 4:24).  All life is precious in the sight of God; if we believe that to be true, we must stand up for and protect it in all stages, for all people, in order that the world might see how we care for all of life and might glorify God (1 Peter 2:12).

For all of these groups–but the elderly specifically–it must begin with the church’s attitude toward the older generations; we must be different from the world, and express it with our treatment toward those in any stage of life (in the church or out).  If we debate the pro-life argument, but do nothing for those within our church body already, we are not honoring God–and we are hypocrites.

The “church” of America has become infected by the cultural belief that the only thing worth believing and extolling is the new and the fashionable; we don’t want anything that might make people feel like our church is old-fashioned or outdated.  Many churches have likewise sacrificed the transcendent quality of the Gospel, which speaks across cultural identities, generations, personal preferences, economic status, or educational background, for a gospel relevant and appealing to certain subgroups.  The result is a hodgepodge of people who claim membership to the same name on the church sign, but who ultimately have not much to do with each other.  Some examples: children have their own church services; worship services are split into “contemporary” and “traditional,” where music is aimed for a certain crowd; looking down on and ignoring those who do not dress in a certain fashion or have a particular appearance (i.e. tattoos, piercings); or when Christianity becomes synonymous with the American identity.  The high school clique mentality is the inevitable consequence.  We associate with certain people; we talk to certain people; we learn about the spiritual and physical needs of certain people; and we become an insulated people, careful with our comfort bubbles, and never stepping out to care for those who perhaps need the most help.

All churches can look for ways to improve.  Healthy churches are those where the young and old, the poor and rich, the well and ill, the American and the Russian, are bound together in fellowship under the blood of Christ in one fellowship with one another.  Where the young women desire the advice of the older women (Titus 2:3-5), where the young and old treat one another as family (1 Tim 5:1-2), where age is considered a blessing, and those who have it are sought out for wisdom (Prov 16:31).

“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” -1 John 1:3

“I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism,one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”  -Ephesians 4:1-6

The church is not a social club, and fellowship is not simply social time.  We have a calling to care for all of God’s people–physically and spiritually–and to be salt and light in a culture that favors death and self over and against life and God.  Look for ways to bless, encourage, pray, and step out for those less regarded or ones you may have avoided for too long.

“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'” -Matthew 25:37-40






~ by TSL on June 19, 2014.

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