And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
The church bells rang, signaling the beginning of worship. Members processed into the sanctuary after we sang the opening hymn outdoors. Ahead of me my then 3-year-old daughter walked hand in hand with an octogenarian. For a moment, I glimpsed them both looking towards each other, smiles on their faces. I snapped a picture for us to remember.
As a place that gathers with all ages, the church provides a wonderful space to learn across the generations and form relationships with a wide variety of people. We worship together and break bread together. We get to learn from one another and practice listening to our neighbors. Even during times of social distancing, where church is happening online or in adapted formats, we benefit from diversity in our communities.
I wonder where I would be, or who I would be, if not for the church ladies who loved me growing up. They were always at church setting up and cleaning up, offering their hands in greeting, sending birthday cards and remembering my baptism. Of course, it’s not only church ladies, but also families, elderly couples, single members, others who become family by showing up as the Body of Christ. In every encounter, give thanks for the beauty of the community.
I pray my children continue to know the gift of intergenerational relationships, of looking in the eyes of a friend and smiling. It takes work to build any relationship, and those between people of different ages are no different. This month pay attention to how generational diversity shows up in your church connections. Commit as a family to reach out and share God’s love across generations.
Even though today we cannot physically hold hands with others, we can spread God’s love through creative connections.
Schedule a family video or phone call with a member of your congregation who is in a different life stage. Let them know you’re thinking about them and find out how they are spending their days. Ask how you can pray for them. Pray together during your call.
We pray for the residents of nursing homes and long-term health care facilities that are lonely and missing their families.
We pray for families transitioning to new homes or work arrangements.
We pray for our Lutheran Outdoor Ministries facing challenges due to COVID-19.
We give thanks for crayons and drawings shared between friends.
We give thanks for home cooked meals delivered on doorsteps.
We give thanks for friends that become like family.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.
Virtually arrange a game night with people from your church. Invite different ages to share their favorite games and learn from one another. Or do a recipe swap with others to learn family customs and traditions. You might use Zoom or Facetime to “share” dinner with another family.