No Retirement In The Kingdom
David Payne says older people have a critical role to play in building God’s Kingdom.
I used to naively think that when I eventually make sixty-something I will be able to retire and enjoy a little golf and at last be able to hang up my Kingdom-building boots!
During the research phase of our latest CaFE course for the over-60s, Beloved Disciples, my bubble got well and truly burst.
In fact it actually began two years before this, while filming on the beautiful Greek island of Patmos, where St. John traditionally wrote the Book of Revelation.
I had no idea that this happened when he was in his eighties and that after his exile he returned to Ephesus to become the very busy Bishop of Asia Minor, well into his nineties. St. John never got to play golf (well not this side of Heaven anyway).
Pope Francis has been reminding us all of the treasure of older people and emphasises that there is much vital Kingdom-building work still to be done.
He stresses three main areas of vital work that older people need to do with fresh enthusiasm: intercession, evangelisation and sharing the hope of eternal life.
We so often forget just how important and powerful intercessory prayer is.
How many families and grandchildren are dependent on the prayers of the older family members?
Not to mention our parishes, priests and schools who all benefit from this faith-filled silent ministry.
The Pope reminds us that the call to share the joy of the Gospel isn't something that we can ever retire from and leave to the younger generations.
In fact, he says that older people often make the best evangelists as they don't care what people think any more.
I am the fruit of this potent OAP evangelism – it is thanks to a group of old ladies praying for me that I left behind a life of drugs and became a Catholic film producer!
And as for faith in the reality of Heaven – that takes daily work to keep the 'hope plate' spinning in our lives, so that we can be fear-free in the face of our own death and be a source of comfort and hope to those around us, many of whom are terrified of the unmentionable.
One lovely older Catholic lady on the new Beloved Disciples film said: “I always thought that when I retire I would have more time...but actually I am busier than ever and I don't get paid for it!'”
Beloved Disciples is an inspiring four-session TV-quality course featuring the profound and entertaining David Wells, myself and older people from around the UK. It is ideal for parishes, groups, homes and individuals.
Why not set up a coffee morning or afternoon tea group in your parish to encourage, empower and equip our 'older treasures' to build the Kingdom with renewed vigour?
Full details and a short trailer can be found at www.faithcafe.org or by calling 0845 050 9428.