Is there an expiration date on our inherent worth and dignity? An aging out of being made in God’s image?
The past two pandemic years have been a litmus test of how our society and our communities live out our collective answers to these questions, especially as broad swaths of our population have been considered “expendable” based on age and other factors such as disability and chronic health conditions.
Now, as Older Americans Month comes to a close, let us take the time to reflect on our faith communities’ answers to these important questions:
- Are we committed to not just recognizing the Imago Dei of the older people in our communities and congregations, but also acknowledging that sacred image through our words and actions?
- Do our ministries, supports, and programs reflect the dignity and agency of the older people in our midst? Their uniquenesses? Their talents? Their gifts? Their needs?
- Are we taking care to ensure that we offer services and programs that are truly intergenerational, reflecting a spirit of being “all in this together” rather than being siloed into “us vs. them”?
- Where have our words and deeds fallen short of recognizing the way each of us, regardless of age, ability or health status, are a reflection of the image of God?
- How have we been successful at serving, being served by, and serving with the older adults in our midst?
- What are some ways we can celebrate the diversity of older adults in our congregations and communities?
As you reflect on these questions individually and collectively, I invite you to reach out and share your successes and surprises, your hopes and challenges, so that we might celebrate and support one another on our journey of living into Beloved Community at any age or stage of life.