Why are people reticent to reveal their age? After we reach 29 it seems that we would rather not tell people how old we are. We may say we are ‘twentyteen’ or cough violently as we are revealing our age. Or there’s the good old fail-safe ’21 again’.
I am 21 today.
Okay, it’s my 21st Wedding Anniversary, not my birthday, but at the age of 43 that seems to be more a more significant and important celebration to me than my age. 21 years of being married to the wonderful Sally! 21 years of seeing her gorgeous smile. 21 years of … you get the idea. This would be a long, self-indulgent and perhaps nauseatingly sentimental blog entry if I kept going! It struck me this morning that I have been married to Sally for almost half of my life!
The Bible encourages us honour and venerate those whose personal odometer is clocking up impressive numbers.We are to recognise and draw on their wisdom and experience. We are to take care of them. We are to consider them blessed by God.
There’s a verse in the Old Testament (and quoted by Peter in his first sermon) that both amuses and puzzles me:
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
Dreams seem to be aspirational and ephemeral. Visions seem to be dynamic and, well, visionary. I like the idea that dreams are our minds way of organising and filing the thoughts and activities that we have – helping us process them and make sense of them. Visions seem to be more about looking to the future than reflecting on the past.
Is this how we work out whether we are young or old? Do you dream dreams or do you see visions? If you have both, perhaps that’s middle age!
The significant aspects of that passage are not musings on the differences but recognition that God pours out his Spirit on ALL people. How he speaks to us and through us is not as important as what we do with what he says. To pre-empt any Harry Hill-esque evaluations of dreams and visions (which is better?) it seems to me that in God’s wisdom he is telling us that we need young and old – those who can look to the future and those who can reflect on the past.
It’s my wedding Anniversary today (did I mention that?). Sally told me this morning that last night she had a dream that I gave her an expensive necklace to celebrate our anniversary.
“What do you think it means?” she asked.
This evening she will find out.
I’m going to get her a book on interpreting dreams!