Article: SILENT LAMBS | Jiji Kurivalla, Canada

“Dad, we need to get a new home,” said my daughter. When I inquired as to what is wrong with the current one, she replied, “It’s not modern. We need to make it bright, white, and everything straight and square.” While this sounded good, I asked “What do we do with everything we currently have? The multi-coloured oriental rug, wooden curved furniture, dishes bearing the prints of the imperial decade, the passed down Preethi mixer, and the floral wall prints.” To this, she replied, “Throw them all out.” Whoa, I felt old! What I considered an average good home with modern facilities, all of a sudden sounded aged and stuck in the past. The grandfather clock on the wall echoed my sentiment by striking 12.

Now, this is not only true in my home but also in many churches. Over the years, they have become ‘old ‘, ‘historical’, and ‘boring’ therefore (at least in western society), in recent years churches see a need for conducting meetings, sermons, worship, songs etc that can allure the younger generation. To retain or appeal to them, many churches dedicate a large percentage of their resources to activities and gadgets. Stage props, colourful lights, fog machines, surround systems, social media, and other technologies have become part of Sunday worship. Sunday church gatherings are no longer humdrum and monotonous.

The church is not only a reflection of Christ but also is a mirror of the culture it stands on. While all the effort and resources are focused on youth, Christians over 50 or 60 are being marginalised. In the words of my daughter, “In with the new and out with the old.” If it is not now, this will be the concern of tomorrow. What do we do with our grandparents? How can we retain them? How can we be trendy, modern, and influential to the younger generation without damaging the roots? How can we coexist in spiritual harmony?

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The answer lies in recognizing the often overlooked and untapped resources among the older generation. While the younger generation can make the church vibrant and exuberant they often do not have the life lessons and experiences the silent and older generations have. Elders have seasoned their spiritual walk by years of encounters they had. While it’s good to have youth night activities with some cookies and cream, it’s equally profitable to conduct hot chocolate and fireplace chat sessions with the grandparents of our churches. Involve them in mentorship. Titus 2 says “they(the older women) can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything, set them an example by doing what is good.” Teach and mentor the younger generation to be useful within home, church and community. These uniquely qualified and mature Christians can bring about appreciable results that cultivate authentic disciples.

Many grandparents over the age of sixty, held jobs as instructors, principals, police officers, accountants, homemakers, teachers, doctors, mechanics, drivers, bank managers, and many other professions that required them to think analytically, creatively, and lead others. They have years of knowledge and experience. Let not their talents accumulate dust over the years. Set programs that will pave the path for today’s generation that will become the grandparents of tomorrow.
Psalm 71:18 says, “Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” Likewise, Psalm 145:4 declares, “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.” While we focus on a particular age group, remember we need each other from all age groups for we are part of one body. Time to let my daughter know the oriental rug stays and the sacrifice her parents had to make to get one.

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