Responding to a letter in The Times, a lady from Devon wrote that she was one of an elite group of three octogenarians, the ‘Old Crones’, who do Parkrun each Saturday, wearing T shirts proclaiming, ‘We do it because we can.’ That ‘s the point, she insisted, we celebrate that we are active despite our physical problems.’ In June the three will head to Greece to compete in the Modern Nemean Games, ‘open to all, however old and crumbly, where we will don an ancient Greek chiton and run 100 metres in the original stadium. Because we can.’
It’s great to see stories of older people who are actively involved in life. I could add a long list, too, but just to mention a few: – the 99 year old former businessman sending out prayer lists and organising prayer for the care home he was living in; the 92 year old doctor and former missionary making little films for his church website, evangelizing and encouraging older people; the 98 year old confined to bed in sheltered housing whose flat was always full because she drew others with her liveliness and love of the Scriptures, the 90 year old still running a missionary work to Russia and the Baltic States, the reader in her 70s who sends me, and other media outlets, news items to make sure we take up important current issues.
Because ‘we can’ is more than physical wellbeing. It’s being involved with others and with life, and more than that, it’s making a difference.
At the start of 2024, perhaps the biggest difference we can make is with our prayers. Prayer changes things. ‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,’ says James 5:16. Those who belong to Jesus Christ are righteous because of Him, so we ‘qualify’ here!
So this year, let’s pray for things that matter – that wars may cease, that peace would prevail, but hate-filled ideologies would wither and die, and that governments would make righteous decisions. And pray, too, for our work supporting and caring older people, for more workers and better social finance.
We do it because we can!