The Wheels on the Bus...

Pastor Carolyn Jenkins
May 31, 2022

This week we have two groups traveling to Sight and Sound Theater near Lancaster, PA to see the new production of DAVID.  The theater describes itself as “where the Bible comes to life”; I can attest to that being true.  Stories of Bible heroes are made visible in a memorable way.  When we saw JONAH, the entire audience was in the belly of the whale; NOAH counted live animals in twos coming down the aisle--camels and sheep and ducks, oh my!
   The story of David was a little different, with an accent on his psalms and praise songs and his desire to be a “man after God’s own heart”.  There were plenty of live sheep around his shepherd days!  Did you know even the sheep must ‘try out’ to be in the production? I was impressed.

    The second half of the performance is given to the telling of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the cover-up with Uriah’s murder.  How sad to see how too much power and too much work and not enough worship can lead even a man after God’s own heart to do things out of character.  I shouldn’t be surprised for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23).  Wisely, the prophet Nathan confronted David, which led to David’s broken and contrite heart.  Psalm 51 is the beautiful poem David wrote-- a psalm we too can use for repentance and confession:

1:  Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. KJV

   One group saw the performance last Saturday in a one-day bus ride to shop, see the performance, eat Amish food, and ride the bus home!  It was a FUUULLL day.  The second group leaves today (Wednesday) to return on Thursday.  We are adding a time in Lititz, PA to visit the farm of a chalk artist we enjoy, Elva Hurst.  Then we’ll lunch and tour in Lititz before riding home.

 On the outside, this looks like a fun trip to get out of town.  But behind that is how to plan ministry for adults in the last half of their lives. Just as children have stages and developmental things that occur in their early years, adults have stages, too, in the later years.  For adults over 60 years of age, there are transitions happening that aren’t always obvious.  Here are some clues:

Spiritually:  Older adults in this culture generally have a legacy of faith.  They were raised during the depression, WWII, the nifty fifties when the economy was booming…and most everyone had a church.  We still see adults without a legacy of faith and are open to helping them learn to have a relationship with Christ or rekindle a past experience of faith.  We share our faith stories with each other and we love having visitors who are not active in a church.  And soon, as nursing homes and assisted living places open back up, we will return to providing worship experiences for residents who cannot get out.

Physically: older adults begin to have issues.  Some are minor disturbances; some are debilitating setbacks that keep them mainly at home.  This makes for two different groups:  we use those who can get around to help those who can’t with cards and calls.

Mentally: mature adults have so many experiences that their brains are full of facts and names and places.  To keep sharp mentally, challenging our brains with new experiences and new faces is important.  So most times when we meet, or in newsletters, there will be a game to sharpen ‘our little grey cells’.  From this DAVID trip, do you know the names of David’s great grandparents?  Or how many sons were in his family? Or what town his farm was near where he grew up?  We learned all that in a game on the bus.
Socially: more mature adults need to have social engagements and friendly discussions everyday to keep sharp. People who live longer are described as having lots of good friends.  Covid halted this for many, so we are now polishing our social skills and interactions. Books and TV can teach us facts or make us laugh, but real-life interaction keeps us ALIVE and VITAL.

Keeping physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of our lives balanced helps with emotional health, too.  This growth occurs in different ages and stages, but we all go through it.  I am 75 years old and notice when an area gets unbalanced.  Sometimes, it just slips up on me - and at any stage of adulthood it bears watching.

So back to where we started this blog…going on a bus trip with good people, some we know well, some who are new…it’s so much more than just a fun time away.  The wheels on the bus certainly continue to go round and round.  We are developing ourselves for mature living!  Sometimes I am asked, “How old do I have to be to participate with your group?”  Well, no children are invited, but if you are an adult who would like to enjoy growing older, come on!

“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be…the last of life for which the first was made.” Robert Browning




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