Today’s entry introduces a new FullofYears feature: short musings about lectionary texts that may soon appear in your line-of-sight. These entries may prove helpful in interpreting a Sunday’s appointed lessons with sensitivity to the realities faced by those who are older.
Exegetics—the science of Bible interpretation—rests on some rules of hermeneutical thought. (E.g., the first meaning of a text—what the first listeners or readers would have understood—is the best meaning. Another: Don’t psychologize a text with thought patterns unknown in ancient times.) It seems possible that, within those rules, we can look at a text from the viewpoint of older adults—who were among the original writers, proclaimers and hearers of Scripture. As an older adult now, I find myself listening to Sunday lessons with new insights, new possibilities, new hopes. You, too…?
Sunday, September 8 (Time after Pentecost—Lectionary 23, Cycle C)
Deuteronomy 30:15-20: “Choose life” begins at every major transition in life. How does that connect with the transitions in various stages of aging? Especially important now, when life seems more precious.
Psalm 1: What does it mean to be “planted”? The older we get, the more that seems true, wonderful, hopeful.
Philemon 1-21: Thinking about each other “always in our prayers” can be a cherished element in the faith practices of elderly folks. Perhaps a key ministry especially suited to older members?
Sunday, September 15 (Time after Pentecost—Lectionary 24, Cycle C)
Psalm 51:1-10: Some may think that “right spirit” gets easier as we get older. Still, the prayer seems necessary as we age—as life becomes more deeply spiritual!
1 Timothy1:12-17: How do these possibly end-of-Paul’s-life themes apply to older adults, for whom this part of life is even closer? Advice for any generation!
Luke 15:1-10: Many older adults worry whether their children or grandchildren will be lost to the influence of God’s word—whether they will eventually return. This parable gives hope about “lost” people being found and cherished.
Sunday, September 22 (Time after Pentecost—Lectionary 25, Cycle C)
Amos 8:4-7: The victims in Amos’ warning might also have been older adults, who in today’s world comprise a significant proportion of those who are poor. What justice does God require on behalf of elders?
1 Timothy 2:1-7: Living a “quiet and peaceful life” may be a perspective—a word of grace—that older adults can offer to those around them. (See also the “praying for others” theme from September 8.)
Sunday, September 29, (Time after Pentecost—Lectionary 26, Cycle C)
Amos 6:1a, 4-7: How might we stay away from “taking our ease in Zion” in retirement? (There might be promise and opportunity in this text, too!)
Psalm 146: God is greater than rulers—there’s comfort and vindication in that good news. Perhaps challenge and invitation, too.
1 Timothy 6:6-19: This is one of the greatest calming Scriptures about contentment—something all of us cherish. Possibly something especially well-known and well-lived by older adults.
Sunday, September 29 (Michael and All Angels)
Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3: In the middle of the horrors of spiritual battles, wise people stand out as redemptive and hopeful in difficult times. Many older adults are wise, just waiting to be asked.
Revelation 12:7-12: When all is said and done, Satan loses. Completely. During our latter stages of life, this is a good reminder. And yes, love is stronger than evil!
Luke 10:17-20: Thinking of where we are known—where our names are written permanently—how good to remember that our names are already inscribed in Heaven!