In preparing to teach a class on "What is a good church?", I've used a Google search tool to pull together people's thoughts on this from across the blogosphere. One common sentiment that pops up among bloggers is that they want a church with lots of people their own age. They especially dislike churches that are elderly.
This brought to mind how my thoughts towards the elderly have changed. There was a time when I too avoided churches with older people. In fact, for years, a church I attended had no one over 50 that I can remember.
But this changed when I prayed with an old man in the sunset of his life. He has walked with God longer than I have been alive. His body is failing him, but His God has not. His faith has stretched across time and has lasted through adversity, and this gives me hope that I, too, will not fall away.
When we don't know our elderly fathers and mothers in the faith we miss out on one means that God uses to assure us of perseverance. Just as Jacob, when dying blessed his sons, leaning on his staff to worship (Heb 11:21), so too can our fathers in the faith bless us in their worship of God.