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       Sermons | Passionate worship

      This sermon was preached by the Rev. Keith Cardwell at Swift Presbyterian Church.

      Nov. 10, 2019 | 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Dreams and Visions
      As We Age

      Acts 2:14–21

       F AR TOO OFTEN, WE THINK ONLY of the dreams and visions for the future of our young men and women. We seek out “new” leadership for our committees and ministries. The budget goes to Christian education for our children, youth, and young adults. We are not intentional about engaging our older adults in ministry. Perhaps as you age, you feel the church neglects you.

      Who is an older adult? I guess it depends on your perspective. In Psalm 90:10, the psalm writer says:

      Our days may come to seventy years,
      or eighty, if our strength endures

      Close to a third of PC(USA) members are 71 and older. [ Statistical report] Our church membership reflects the national average.

       † † † 

      IN THE BOOK Disrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living, Jill Vitale-Aussem writes, “Our society believes that older adults have little to offer the world, viewing them as no longer productive and a drain on society.”

      The current AARP Bulletin (November 2019, p.30) says much the same thing. I think that can apply to the church as well. “We fall into the trap of believing that older people don’t have anything to give back and are just consumers of services. We take away what we know people need: a reason to get up in the morning.”

      This is not the way aging has been viewed historically. For the most part, elders have been revered throughout history. They were keepers of the culture and history. In biblical times, if you lived past 50, you were seen as having been chosen by God for a divine purpose.

      Some folks struggle with mobility. They wonder why they’re still alive. What can they offer their family or church? I say the church is always in need of prayer warriors. I don’t mean that as a glib response.

       † † † 

      Peggy Wheatcroft took a unique approach
      to celebrating her birthday.

      HERE’S WHAT PEGGY DID. Peggy wasn’t excited about turning 80. She wondered what she could do instead of having a party. She started thinking. What can I give? Well, I’m turning 80. I’ll give $80. Peggy decided to give $80 apiece to 80 friends and relatives. She put four $20 bills; a self-addressed, stamped postcard; and a note asking people, in honor of her birthday, to give the money to anyone they chose. “Find someone who least expects it …. Then write … and tell me about your experience.”

      ■ One woman heard a teller at her bank say that she would be out for six weeks for reconstructive surgery. The woman reached into her purse and gave the teller the $80.

      ■ A couple was inspired by something they read, “Socks are the most-needed but least-donated article of clothing in homeless shelters.” They pooled their money to buy 52 pairs of socks and took them to a shelter just before Thanksgiving. [• Story]

       † † † 

      EVEN WITH LIMITED MOBILITY, ministry can happen.

      As we age, we might forget that one of the blessings of aging is the opportunity for new beginnings, new dreams and visions for the later years of our lives. Sadly, in worship and program planning, we often fail to consider the unlimited potential and opportunities for ministry that older adults can offer to our congregations. There is so much for us to learn together, so many ways for us to support and care for one another, so many ministries for us to embrace — together, old and young alike!

      Vitale-Aussem goes on to write that older adults’ lives are also filled with sadness and grief. Extreme losses in personal life. Spouses get sick. Longtime friends die. Real life happens and they need real, deep, and authentic relationships to survive.

       † † † 

      A PRAYER CONCERN WAS RAISED a while back about ministry to people in nursing homes. That renewed my thinking about aging and the church’s presence with folks as they/you live in the later years. Where does the church fit into this?

      In Disrupting, Vitale-Aussem cites three negative experiences of people with limited mobility. Loneliness. Being alone at home or in a planned community surrounded by strangers. Helplessness. Having a role to play but being told you’re not needed. Boredom. Purposeful work —meaningful things to do — is replaced with card games and bingo. Surely, members of the church can help address these issues with our own members and the larger community.

      How can we utilize gifts and talents of aging members? What about those who are confined to home, or life-planned communities? How do we effectively minister to them? Or their caregivers?

       † † † 

      I WANT TO HEAR from you. You have dreams and visions. You have your experiences. You have your spiritual journeys. I want to hear those.

      What are your talents, skills and passions?

      How do you want to share these gifts to make Swift stronger and more vibrant?

      — Keith Cardwell   

      «One of the blessings of aging is the opportunity for new beginnings, new dreams and visions for the later years of our lives.»


      ►This is the Word of God for the people of God:

      Acts 2:14–22
      Holy Bible, New International Version

      14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

          17 “ ‘In the last days, God says,
          I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
          Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
          your young men will see visions,
          your old men will dream dreams.
          18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
              I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
          and they will prophesy.
          19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
             and signs on the earth below,
             blood and fire and billows of smoke.
          20 The sun will be turned to darkness
          and the moon to blood
          before the coming of the great and glorious
              day of the Lord.

          21 And everyone who calls
          on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

      — This is the Word of the Lord.
      — Thanks be to God.

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      23208 Swift Church Road
      Foley, AL 36535
      Phone: (251) 943-8367


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