Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
For the more than six years that I worked as a region coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba I had the above passage from Psalms hanging on my office wall. It felt like the cry of the spirits of those people I was there to help.
In the constant quest for new we do indeed often cast aside the familiar, the well worn, the old. Think for a moment of the mad rush around you, the line of people trading in their cell phones for the latest I-Phone 5. Not that there was anything wrong with the phones they had, but the lure of something newer pulls strong.
I have been spending some time moving in reverse, finding beauty where I had not expected it. The main character in the novel I am writing learns to know Jesus in a very traditional, liturgical, orthodox church. I have spent hours exploring the rituals and divine liturgies, and while I know beyond knowing that it is grace that saves me, not ritualistic acts, I have found much to feast upon in the ancient ways. I am saddened by how much we have forsaken simply because it was old and something more modern caught our attention.
This afternoon, our church fellowship took their turn at presenting the chapel service at both the hospital and the care home. We led those gathered in singing old songs, words that many sang without needing to scan the pages of the hymn books. Songs that many new believers have never heard for in the midst of our worship wars (and if you haven't noticed worship wars, you are blessed or blind, or simply living in denial) we have left them behind, replaced again and again by new lyrics and melodies.
Can't we bring in the new without casting out the old. Can we sift and save, blending sweet and rich with the young and fresh, keeping the best of all?
Joining Peter today where the word is old