Let’s give thanks for living longer

ON LONG LIFE The Reverend Canon John Draper
ON LONG LIFE The Reverend Canon John Draper
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Reverend Canon John Draper, Vicar of St Mary the Virgin Church, Rowner, talks about the joy of people living longer lives

Very often nowadays I am taking funerals for people in their late 80s and even for those in their 90s.

When I was ordained 25 years ago you were considered ancient if you lived until 80, but now it’s more.

The Psalmist, writing in Psalm 90, tells us that we will live until we are ‘three score years and ten, or, if we have strength, four score.’

So, to 70 or, if we are lucky, 80.

More proof that we are living longer is that the number of celebration telegrams from the Queen on achieving one’s 100th birthday has quadrupled in the last three decades.

I had a big party for all my friends when I turned 60.

It was great to have people from all my walks of life come to my home to wish me well and to celebrate.

We should celebrate getting older.

Some people think it is a waste of time, but there is always a lot to give thanks to God for.

There is a great temptation these days to concentrate on the future of young people and what they have lying ahead of them.

Why don’t we give equal concentration on the past of people as well?

Some say that as you grow older, you become wiser; in some people that is more obvious than others.

I like to think that we place equal value and importance on every generation around us.

That is especially important in our churches; sometimes we make the mistake and talk about the children in our churches being ‘the church of tomorrow’.

That’s wrong: they and all generations are the church of today.

Let’s try and remember and respect all ages.

We have a lot to learn from each other.

All churches try their best to be inclusive of all generations.

Come along and be part of a living group and community of people trying to live by example.

Church communities are made up of those who have lived long lives and those who, hopefully, have a long way to go and catch up to them.

n St Mary the Virgin Church is located in Rowner Lane, Gosport, PO13 9SU.

For more information contact Rev Draper on (023) 9258 1834 or email him at rownerrector@btinternet.com.

Alternatively, look up the website at rownerparishchurch.org for more details of the church and upcoming events.