Sermon to Honor Seniors on Double Ninth Festival
By Yi Yang, October 13, 2016 06:10 AM
This year the Double Ninth Festival (Sept 9 on the lunar calendar) falls on a Sunday. The pastor from Trinity International Protestant Church of Kunming gave a sermon titled "Honor the Aged as we do to Our Own Parents" from Leviticus 19:32.
"You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord." (NRSV) After the service the church gave presents to the brothers and sisters over 70 years old, blessed them in Jesus Christ, and wished them to become blessings for their decendents.
Pastor Jing Jiuwei said in the sermon that Christianity is a religion that values seniors and filial piety and there are many teachings about it in the Bible so it is not as some people say that "they don't need their parents when they followed Jesus." On the contrary, as children of God Christians know how to take care of their parents and love their families and spouses with unconditional love.
First, Pastor Jing said that old age is a gift from God as the Bible tells us. He encouraged the aged believers, saying that age and healthy physiques are blessings from God. Christians need to see seniors as the family's grace and blessing. Moses said: "The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong." (NRSV: Psalms 90:10) This shows how short and fragile men's lives are so we need to treasure each period and live for God. Believers need to be more grateful in the remaining years especially and thank God for His blessings as they pass them on to the next generation.
Second, honoring elders is God's command. One of the Ten Commandments "Honor your father and mother" shows how God values the seniors' life and they also need their children's attention and care. Paul also states "And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (NRSV: 1 Timothy: 5:8) so Christians should not only honor our parents but also care for our family members.
Honoring parents includes respect and obedience, not only providing for them financially, but also learning from their virtues, taking care of their daily life, and respecting their standing. We do not honor because they're good but because of the eldership, and it is from God and no one can change the fact. The "Elder Law" also stated that supporting parents is the children's unilateral obligation which has no prerequisite for any condition. It is our duty as children to provide for them, take care of them, and comfort them.
Third, honoring elders is a commandment with promise. The Bible tells us that "Honor your father and mother, this is the first commandment with a promise: so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." (NRSV Ephesians: 6: 2-3) "Live long on the earth" means not only age, but also abundant life and eternal glory. In order to receive blessings from God we should listen to the sermons, pray, and rely on God's grace and practice. Jesus once called those who followed his will his mother and brothers and sisters. All of God's grace lies in his promise. If Christians want to receive it, they need to live lives according to God's Word, and honoring elders is a way to receive blessings. Supporting parents requires not only financial assistance but also comfort and attention to their emotions.
Fourth, there's guidance from the New Testament for honoring parents. Ephesians chapter 6 says "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, this is the first commandment with a promise: so that it may be well with you and you may live on the earth." This proves that honoring parents has gone to a new height in serving, so as children we need to listen to our parents in the Lord.
Mencius (an ancient Chinese philosopher) said "to honor old people as we do our own aged parents" which tells us not to forget other seniors who are not related to us and treat them like they were our parents. With a graceful heart we can bless more people. On the Double Ninth Festival, also known as the Elders' Day, there are different activities from different organizations to show concern and care for seniors. As Christians, we should participate as well.
After the sermon, the church gave presents to the brothers and sisters over 70 years old to show their solicitude and respect.
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