I can hardly believe it, and in some ways I don’t think of myself as this old, but in April I’ll turn 55. There are advantages and disadvantages to be sure in getting older. I think one advantage is to be able to look back and think through with a more mature perspective just how I could have done better in approaching life differently. Of course this kind of knowledge, maturity and perspective can be gained only over time.
I so much appreciate the zeal and energy of younger people. Often those in their 20’s and 30’s and beyond are energetically thinking through issues which I am not that concerned about, myself. But such matters have their place, and it is good that young, energetic, keen minds can work on them. Some of the best work people do is done when they are young. They develop that over time, but the kernel is present in their early years of work.
I think as we get older we tend to want to see more and more of the bigger picture. We want to avoid a parochial mindset which sees only one point of view. And then we want to place, or work out our convictions within this new setting. Of course what we need to see first and foremost is the biblical Story, the Story of God, and see all more and more in light of that. But God has made it that in some sense what we see outside the Story in scripture not only corroborates with the Story, but in a sense informs it. With scripture always the basis for our faith and life in God in this world. But to understand what God is saying requires living and life. We see God’s word confirmed, and we also understand it better from living in the real world. We find our place in God’s ongoing Story in Jesus, and see just how easily we, not unlike others in scripture, get off track, or fall into idolatry, being self-centered, instead of God in Christ-centered.
An older perspective steeped in scripture also more and more sees how community in and through Jesus is vital for living in God’s will in this life. Individualism is perhaps the most rooted sin in our society. Community involves each of us having our part and learning more and more to be in sync as Christ’s Body in the world.
All this to say that I appreciate differing perspectives for different reasons: young and old. I want both, not one over the other. Of course we do best from whatever perspective we have to try to learn from the perspective of others. As we continue to seek God’s will and see life more and more in terms of his Story revealed to us in scripture in Jesus.
Maybe this can be a discipline for Lent, that we try to really hear and understand other perspectives while all the time seeking by grace to be more and more centered in God, God in Jesus being at the center of our lives, and of the story of life.