My 27th birthday went by quietly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. March 5 came, and then it went.
Of course, my lack of enthusiasm about March 5 hasn’t always been the case. As a child, celebrating my birthday was always a wonderful affair. I remember parties of miniature golf, laser tag, football, and so much more. My parents made it a mission to celebrate in style.
And with every passing year, there was this sense of excitement, of joy, and of wonder. But now, I have this distinct lack of excitement. I have a theory about this, and it’s not what you think.
Take my birthday celebrations from 17 – 22. In those years, I was essentially cordoned off from the rest of society. Either in high school or college, I was surrounded by people celebrating roughly the same birthday who were going through roughly the same experiences I was: learning how to drive, starting to seriously date, going off to college, having our first (legal) beer.
But then I entered society. Well, not quite, because seminary is some sort of fake society. When I started working in the church though, and I dove straight into the life of the church, my whole perception of age changed. After having been quarantined for my late teenage years and early twenties, I found this whole new vibrant world. It was a world in which people of all ages came together for work and prayer.
And I realized that faithfulness is not related to age.
I saw octogenarians struggle with their faith while teenagers were thriving. I talked for long hours about God with folks going through a mid-life crisis, while others had mid-twenties crises. Suddenly I learned that age has nothing to do with maturity and that the number of our years can’t measure our wisdom.
What this all boils down to is this: I’m not a big fan of birthdays because age doesn’t tell us anything. And the only place, I believe, that you can learn this lesson is in the Church. This is the place for all people, regardless of age, to meet for a common goal – nothing less than the Kingdom of God.
I can’t say it enough – I NEED THE CHURCH. No, not because I work at a church. I need the Church as the place to pray, to worship, to work together in God’s kingdom, and to learn these lessons. Lessons like this one.