The Hoary Head
June 16, 2012
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“Hello. Is this your mother? May I shake hands with her?”
My 95 year old mother and I were sitting in the food court of Midtown Plaza when a young lady, obviously of Asian descent, walked up to our table and asked these questions.
I was wary at first, expecting that she was going to try and sell us something. But as this young lady took my mother’s hand, I saw that she was close to tears. She told me that she was from Calgary and in Saskatoon for a Youth for Christ rally. She had seen this little old lady and it looked so good to her that she just had to come and hold her hand for a moment. Her own grandmother lived in Hong Kong and she hadn’t seen her for years.
I thought of the words of a friend who has spent many years as a missionary in India and Burma. “I see a respect for the elderly in all the Asian countries that we seem to have lost here at home.”
The current issue of Christianity Today features an article by Thomas Berger entitled, “When are we going to grow up?”, adapted from his book, The Juvenilization of American Christianity. The points he makes are quite valid, but in fact it is the whole of Western culture that has become juvenilized. Maturity and responsibility are no longer admired. Immaturity and irresponsibility are.
My suspicions dissipated as I saw the obvious sincerity of this young lady. She was with a friend who hung back, not quite knowing what to do. I admired this young lady for taking a brief time to freely show and express her love and respect for the elderly. I think this is really how things are supposed to be.
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).