The promise of the resurrection changes the way we see aging.
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The glory of the young is their strength;
the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.
Proverbs 20:29 New Living Translation
The maple tree in our front yard is one of the most beautiful trees on our block. When fall arrives the tree dazzles us as it has done for the past sixteen years. In fact, every year it looks more breathtaking as it grows older. It seems to me that we applaud the splendor of creation as it ages, but we’re appalled at the gray hair and wrinkled skin of human aging. We refer to old growth timber as stately and beautiful, while we think of aging spots and loss of hair as ugly.
The leaves changing color point us to winter’s death. Gray hair, wrinkled skin, aging spots and loss of hair remind us of our mortality. Yet, in the cycle of the seasons we know spring is always around the corner, that summer is less than a year away. Even though the dead of winter is near, so is life.
The Christian community proclaims the promise of the resurrection because Jesus has risen from the dead. We believe and embrace the promise that one day the dead in Christ will rise to a world more beautiful than we can imagine.
When we embrace this promised resurrection we’re empowered to see our aging in a different light. We can now see it as the “splendor of the old.” Yes the aches and pains of aging are difficult, but these aches and pains point to the resurrection. It is this promise that enables us to see aging like a tree turning color in the fall.
If we embrace the beauty of aging maybe we’d be like people who can’t wait to get to the mountains to see the changing aspen. Maybe we’d be bumper-to-bumper to sit with people whose hair is turning grey.
Copyright Douglas P Brauner