Aging Grace-Fully – Session Two
A New Vision for Aging
by David Tillman – October 2020
Acknowledging God’s transformation through how we show up in our world, which includes acceptance, letting go, inner peace, forgiveness, connecting, and trusting.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor 12:9).
“Grace in Christian theology refers to the unconditional, comprehensive, empowering love of God for the world. God’s grace empowers human beings to live graciously, in faith and gratitude to God and in Spirit of forgiveness and peace with others.” (1)
Introduction: “The Hebrew Bible contains at least 250 references to old age…Age is generally considered a blessing or favor of God; certainly not something to resent, deny, or dread…In the Bible “wisdom is often attributed to the elderly…it is not automatic or assumed with the passing of the years. It is earned through righteous living and faithful obedience…Some of the principle affirmations concern of the inherent worth, role, and care of the elderly – especially the infirm”
The first principle: the pronouncement of the first breath on man and woman: And the Lord God formed man (and woman) of dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man (and woman) became a living being. (Gen, 2:7). Being created in the ‘image of God” includes the human capacity for reason, self-transcendence, freedom of choice (will), moral responsibility, and creative constructive purpose: in short, an aspect of spirit…
[The second principle], that human beings have physical substance, a body, formed from the dust of the earth, as well as mind and spirit…[As in the case of Alzheimer’s,] a person becomes more dependent on God’s will and not one’s own… One could look at this as we are created out of God’s image and within our relationship with God, on whatever level that may be, God’s spirit continues to work within a person, for example within a person with Alzheimer’s which is circumventing the normal channels of reception and expression the person previously had…
A third principle is that of community…We are created for interaction and interrelationship with one another… Finally, the principle that weaves from humanity’s common divine thread is: all people are created in the image of God.” (2)
We are responsible, as Jesus told us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk 12:31 NIV). Jesus showed us his love and grace toward others, as we read Jesus healing the blind woman, healing the leper, and many other parables we read in the gospel texts.
Watch the movie “The Bucket List.” The movie sleeve reads: “You only live once, so why not go out in style? That’s what two cancer-ward roommates; Edward, an irascible billionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a Carter, scholarly mechanic (Morgan Freeman) decide when they get the bad news. They compose a bucket list — things to do before you kick the bucket — and head off for the around-the-world adventure of their lives.” (3)
Pay attention to the movie where the two of them sitting on a pyramid in Egypt and Carter (Morgan Freeman) talking about Egyptian’s belief to enter heaven that after death you are asked:
1) if you had joy in your life
2) if you brought joy to others
If you do not have access to watching the movie, you may be able to watch the movie clip when they are sitting on a pyramid and talking. Go to YouTube.com and search for “The Bucket List.” In the movie clip, what is interesting is when Carter as Edmond to answer these two questions, Edward shares an emotional story about his relationship with his estranged daughter. Edward’s answer to Carter’s question about joy in his life lifts up his lack of joy with his relationship with his daughter.
Movie Clip Reflection Questions: 1) Do you have joy in your life? 2) How have you brought joy to others in your lives? 3) How does God’s love and grace bring, or not bring, joy into your life? Journal your answers.
I hope this “Aging Grace-Fully – A New Vision of Aging” session has given you a renewed awareness and understanding to help in their own aging process and also how they can love and support their parents, family members, and friends as they Age Grace-Fully.
(1) Melvin A. Kimble and Susan H. McFadden, ed., Aging, Spirituality, and Religion: A Handbook – Volume 2, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 239.
(2) Rev. Derrel Watkins, Ed., Practical Theology for Aging, (Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Pastoral Press, 2003), 69 – 72.
(3) The Bucket List – Movie
© September 2020, by David Tillman, All Rights Reserved, www.lifesjourney.us