Friday, April 22, 2016

Stand Up!


Leviticus 19:32
Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.  I am the Lord.

I am not able to get out to church now.  I miss the fellowship but don't understand why no one calls or comes by to see me after I taught 55 years, and worked with the youth, and ministered in different ways 50 years.  I don't understand.  I still consider myself a child of God and can minister from home as an encouragement by writing.  ~Winston Staples

When I read this post from Winston in a Christian writers' forum on Facebook, my heart breaks and my soul spirit plummets.  How can this possibly be?  What kind of church is this that turns its back on the aged, the infirm?  Where is the indignation in such abandonment of a brother who still has so much to give to his church community?

A child of God who simply wants to be included, but is resigned to the fact that his only venue now to reach out to others is through writing, hoping to save souls for the kingdom.

Yes, his efforts are noble.  His attitude?  Forgiving and full of grace.  I am humbled by Winston's acceptance of the way things are.

But what has happened to Winston reveals the cumbersome elephant in the room for too many churches.  The world is infiltrating, and we are succumbing to its influence. Falling for the fallacy that youth and wrinkle-free existences are all that matter.  Those persons who appear to be past their usefulness are left by the wayside, breathing the dust that younger, more vigorous church members throw as they stampede by them.  Quickly.  Blindly.  Too eager to pass them and pass up their seasoned experience.

Leaving them in the lurch.

Wisdom, and all . . .

Forsaken.

Forgotten.

In our haste for self-gratification in the here and now, we can too easily miss the hidden treasure the elder generation has to offer.  And we open the Pandora's box of misery instead.

Because history, not learned, is doomed to repeat itself.

And we have much to learn from Christian men like Winston and others of his generation.

The questions burn:  Will we welcome and embrace their presence in the fold?  Or will we continue to kick up the dust of ignorance?


~

How does your church minister to the elderly and shut-ins no longer able to attend services?

Prayer:  Father, let us always stand up for the aged and show respect to the elderly as You have commanded.  Let not one soul in Your kingdom be forgotten nor forsaken because of our agendas set in our own interests.  Revive us, dear Lord, that we might see the wealth of knowledge our elders can share with us.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

14 comments:

  1. Excellent post Martha! This is a real problem in way too many churches! I can identify as in the last few years I have become disabled and it is difficult to attend church or small group on any kind of regular basis. No one calls, offers help, checks on me, nothing. I am not in the loop, so to speak and many elders and disabled are in the same position. What happened to the old days of having care teams to minister to these people? It seems to have become one or two that go to hospitals now. This is also a statement on life. In other countries our elderly are revered. Here, like you pointed out, once someone is deemed to be past their usefulness they are cast aside. It is so sad. Thank you for reminding us of how valuable people like Winston are!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kimberly, I'm so saddened to hear that your disability keeps you away from church, and that you tragically finding yourself in the same predicament as Winston. There is really no excuse for this, especially in the church. It's like "out of sight, out of mind." Downright shameful!
    Now that I'm retired, I'm going to check with my church to see if I can help with phone calls and/or visits to those no longer able to attend services. Somebody has to do it!
    Thanks so much for your comment here today!
    Love and blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Seniors are our treasures and we need to treat them that way. I just had a discussion with a lady last night who is divorced, older and of course single and she feels so out of it at church that is family oriented and pushing youth all the time. sad we fail to reach out to all children of God. On a brighter note, I manage our church's Facebook page and one of our biggest followers is a lady in a nursing home. Has been a great way to keep her in the loop of activities there. She especially loves when I show videos from worship there. Lots to think about here today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seniors are our treasures, Jean, of that I am convinced. I think it is so awesome that a follower on your church's Facebook page is in a nursing home, and so glad you, and others, are reaching out to her. Christianity promises fellowship, not loneliness and isolation. I'm so glad your management of your church's Facebook page has had such marvelous results! Inspiration!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  4. Thank you, Martha, for calling attention to this important concern. Our church is small, but we have a "Sunshine Group" to check on people who haven't been in church, visit shut-ins, and send birthday cards. This helps us keep in touch with one another and takes some of the pressure off our pastor too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a great ministry your church is doing, Mary! It doesn't take that much effort or time out of our busy days to do the right thing in the caring way God wants us to do so when we focus upon that. And what pastor wouldn't welcome pressure taken off of him or her? Whew! What a demanding job!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  5. Martha, you've highlighted a significant problem area in the church. However, I think it goes beyond just those who are elderly. Many others are "forgotten" or "ignored" who don't fit some idealized package of someone who can be in ministry (these are folks who get out to church).

    In my church, I know the pastor and others are good to call on those who can't get out or who are in care facilities. The UMW reaches out and cares for the elderly in the congregation. There is likely more that is being done, however, I'm not aware of it all.

    Love and blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim, I must agree with you that many, beyond the elderly and infirm, are forgotten. Maybe it was those one-time seekers who visited the church and never joined because they felt ignored or disenfranchised.
      We simply have to do better at welcoming the new with love and grace, and attending to the old in the same manner. Jesus wouldn't have it any other way.
      So gratified to know that your church is working positively to stay in touch with those who are "on the fringe."
      Love and blessings, dear one!

      Delete
  6. Hi Martha! Reading Winston's words, I also felt so sad. I see my Dad, at 91, at least able to still go to church, and how much he loves it. Imagine if that was gone for him?
    What a great attitude this man has, saying he can still minister with his words. And you are helping him to do that by highlighting his thoughts here. It's a really important reflection because their are so many elderly among us. They have such wisdom, wonderful memories that help us understand where we came from, and love to give. How can we ignore that?

    This is a very thought-provoking post. At our church, we do have outreach to the shut-ins but I'm pretty sure they have to call and ask for visits. When I was home with my broken leg last year, I had a woman come out and pray with me twice a week. It was heavenly.
    Blessings!
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Ceil, it's great to know that your Dad is 91 yet can still get out to church and, I imagine, any other functions he wishes to attend. What a blessing that is!
      And you make an interesting point here about calls and visits - they need to be requested by the party who can no longer participate? I'd never heard of that, but it does make sense. I'm definitely going to check out how our church handles visiting the elderly and the shut-ins.
      Thanks so much for your insightful comments!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. This saddened me a lot -- because I see it too often. I remember when I was a little girl, my dad would make several trips to the church for every service, 'delivering' people who could no longer drive on their own. I have taught my children to have great respect for the elderly and those less fortunate than myself and I see what they are doing to help in so many ways and it makes my heart rejoice. They visit and do errands....whatever they can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Carol, that is a tremendous value you gave to your children as they were growing up. Too many young people today don't learn respect for their elders - what a sad state of affairs! Glad your grown children offer to help the elderly whenever possible. Yes! Your heart should rejoice!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete

Give Thanks!

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. As our annual observ...