Bringing the Text to Life

Aged to Perfection - The Third Age Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

What does it mean to become an elder? Our people need to develop a theology of aging, a spiritual perspective on the "third age" of life (55 and older) that addresses the hopes and dreams, fears and limitations, surmises and surprises of later adulthood.

How many of us are looking forward to age 100 with expectations of new life and new challenges? Do any of us really believe that the last third of our lives is a time ripe with possibilities for growth and service, and alive with exciting adventures?

Abram, fueled by his faith in God's covenant, went about those 25 years between the promise of offspring and the day of Isaac's arrival full of active, vital life. He left his homeland and began to travel across the land, enduring and escaping famine, Pharaoh and family fights. His quiet, shepherding existence was transformed into a life packed with danger and excitement - marked by experiences of great evil and great goodness. The pace, the purpose and the productivity of Abram's life took on new intensity and vigor. This was Abram's experience of aging.

But this vital picture of old age was not uncommon for the people of Abram's time and culture. Those Eastern cultures which nurtured Jewish Christian traditions venerated age. The...

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