A report published recently by the NHS has said that discrimination towards the elderly is “rooted” in British society. The gospel passage for this Sunday is a tribute to old age. The man of the future is the one with the longest memory. It was Simeon, steeped in the law and the prophets, who was able to recognize the baby Jesus as the Messiah (Luke 2:22-40). This year London has had exhibitions of the later work of three artists. Rembrandt, Constable and Turner all painted differently towards the end of their lives. They saw different patterns in the colours of the paper just as Simeon saw different shapes in the contours of his faith. It took an old man to give the occasion of Jesus entering into the Temple the significance that it deserves. Simeon praised God. “Lord,” he said, “now I can die content!” We talk of the folly of youth but less often the recklessness of old age. “Old men”, said T S Elliott, “ought to be explorers… “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” – we need the silver haired generation to teach us this.
– Rev Dr Bob Mayo
Rev Mayo is an Anglican priest presiding over the St Stephen and St Thomas parish in Shepherd’s Bush, London. Rev Mayo also serves as chaplain for Queen’s Park Rangers FC and is affiliated with Sports Chaplaincy – UK. Parish the Thought is a weekly reflection on the Gospel for the coming Sunday, are original to the author, republished with permission, and do not necessarily reflect or represent CrossTraining Ministries.