Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Senior Citizen Day – Care to the EldersLuke 2:25-38
V25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
In the United States, the largest population of people who were born in the post-World War II era have already reached or are soon to reach the age of 60. We can also notice this in our own communities a large portion of migrants to the United States are now Senior Citizens or close to being so. As a society, questions regarding how this will all affect the Medical structures and the financial strains this may have on government-run programs have been topics of discussion in some news channels. As a faith community, our outlook ought to be from a much different perspective. The human aspect of this should surpass any concerns of financial matters or strains on the infrastructure.
The Bible demonstrates what our attitudes should be towards the elders. In Leviticus 19:32, God says, “You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Showing respect to the aged is in the same exact sentence as you shall fear your God, demonstrating exactly how important the statute is.
In Paul’s 1st epistle to Timothy, he teaches, “Do not speak harshly to an older man but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters—with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2) He also teaches in the chapter that the widows amongst the believers ought to be taken care of by their family members and if they do not have family members they ought to be cared for by the believers. We also see what Peter teaches in 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
In today’s reading portion, we see two elders amongst the Israelites, who dedicated their lives to waiting for the redemption of Israel and living in hope for the arrival of the Messiah. Both Simeon and Anna are a reminder of the elders in our own families and communities who emphasized and taught us about spiritual matters. They taught us about praying and hoping in wait for our Lord to answer. They teach us about overcoming the struggles they face by relying solely on God to care for them. When we live relatively comfortable lives, we should look back to the struggles the currently aging community faces to get us to where we are.
Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” Let us continue to uphold the gray-haired men and women of our families and churches in prayer. Let us appreciate the hard work they have done to lay the foundations of our very own lives. Let us carry on in faith as they did when all they had to rely on was God. Let us care for them as many become unable to care for themselves, the same way they cared for us growing up. Let us honor them by reminding them of how much their lives positively affected our own and how much they continue to mean to us. Let us also remember that, God-willing, in the natural course of life we too will be in the same stage that the seniors are now. Therefore we should remember the words of Christ, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”
Mar Thoma church Staten Island