Seriously, I don’t even want to think about often I have heard things coming out of my mouth, attitudes expressed by me, that sound just like the stuff that irritated me when they were directed towards me when I was much, much younger!!
The Young and the Old
Excerpt from Matthew 15:1-9
“Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.'”
Reflection by Donna Schaper
I remember when my parents first saw me wearing blue jeans. They were horrified. Daily I meet people who of don’t approve of Facebook or don’t like baseball caps worn backwards. Have they really forgotten how they broke their own parents’ hearts, right in front of the neighbors?
Generational warfare is universal and maybe even harmless. People seem to need to justify themselves. One of the ways we do it is by wearing what our parents didn’t. The disciples had bad manners and some people thought that needed comment. Jesus didn’t.
In the name of Jesus, we keep an eye on the lame, the blind, the feeble, and the old—and the young. Elders deserve respect because they are elders. Youth lose when they forget to respect the old, just as the old lose if they don’t try to find out what younger people are thinking under their baseball caps. The best thing we have learned in my congregation, which is getting younger, is not to mention age very much. That way we treat each other as people, which is what matters. Customs don’t. People do.
Thomas Jefferson argued that in matters of custom, we swim with the flow, and in matters of principle, we make like a rock. My hope for younger people and older people is that they know what it means to love a person like Jesus did — and learn to avoid the shallow self-promoting sneers.
O God, let us forget about the young and old for a while and grant humanity to all. Amen.
About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church, New York, New York.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
– 1 John 3:18
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”
– Maya Angelou
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