They say getting old is not for “sissies.” I have never thought of myself as old. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I have worked with young people my entire professional career. However, there are times I see my father when I look in the mirror. Time is a fickle thing, some moments it crawls, especially if one is waiting for an important event like Christmas or a trip. Sometimes time flies and we wonder where the day, or week, or month, or even a year has gone. It seems like only yesterday when the IBM selectric typewriter was the wonder of the day. You could change the type font by simply changing the type ball. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and cell phones were not part of one’s vocabulary. In 1980, I remember seeing an Apple computer which had an artificial voice. I would not have believed how it would change the world through GPS technology and through giving handicapped individuals the ability to communicate.
The older one gets, the more precious time becomes. Children grow up, leave home, get married, and enter careers. Our personal career blooms and a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment fill our days. Just as quickly, you begin to lose friends and family members and before you are ready, you find yourself the matriarch or patriarch of the family. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a “bad” thing. It is part of the order of life. How we deal with these changes defines our character and, I believe, our spiritual formation.
The life of the church is unique in that while years pass, it is ever new and young. This is especially true in the life of this church. People come and go. We change pastors. Significant members pass away. In spite of these life changing occurrences, the ministries and outreach of the church continues. We now stand at the threshold of a new life for our church. New opportunities, new, young staff, a re-thinking of how to do “church” differently, while at the same time keeping those things which give meaning and identification to our church.
As another birthday approaches, I am reminded of the quote, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.” It holds true for me and more importantly, I believe it holds true for our church. I pray that it is so.