I asked Jesus to come into my heart and life when I was 5 years old. I had been and have been in the church all my life. I’m now in my 5o’s (not too far in yet) and have recently had what I can only describe as “a crisis of faith”. Robert and I recently left the church that I had attended all my life and have started going to another great church where we seem to be putting roots down again. But in the few weeks after leaving the church that had been such a big part of my life and for so long, I began to question what my faith had been in. Was it really in the God whom I had known all my life since 5 years of age, or was it in the church and all that is involved in it? The people, the services, the worship, the programmes, like Alpha etc. that we were involved in.
The first time I ever saw a drug addict was at a Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park – a long time ago. There were actually two of them, and I remember how awful they looked, but I also remember thinking “Nutters!” As years passed, I saw many more and I have to admit that I felt total disdain for them – they were nothings, and were not to be trusted as they would rob and steal. Time went by, though, and I started to see them in the chemists waiting disconsolately for their methadone. My heart started to change.
There is a belief or custom in many societies that age brings wisdom. This gave rise to the role of Elder, where the older members of the family or society are in a position of leadership, and this has been incorporated into church life, though here spiritual maturity is normally the qualifying factor rather than physical age. Note that I have said the age brings wisdom, not intelligence or knowledge. I am sure that we have all met someone who is incredibly clever, but who shouldn’t really be allowed out on their own!