The first person to come to our house after my father died was our priest. The second was my dad’s best friend. He made sure our needs in the moment were being met, made sure we had appropriate clothes for the funeral, and made sure we knew he was only a phone call away if we needed him. He was unquestionably one of the first elders in my life.
A few years later when I was a very young camp director, there was a very wise chair of the board who walked with me with personnel, financial, and property management. He too, was without a doubt, an elder in my life.
In my early years of formation I was fortunate to have a very wise priest who poked, prodded, and pondered with me. She was instrumental in the early shaping of my theological framework. She was, without a doubt, an elder in my life.
This last weekend I was blessed to spend time with a number of family members from across many generations. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting and story telling. For me, the richest part of the weekend was spending time with my uncle John. At 83, he is physically frail but cognitively as sharp as ever. His thoughts, perspective, and counsel were very wise.
I am, in great part, who I am because of the “cloud of witnesses”- because of my elders. Some I have been blessed to share much of my journey with, and others were rather recent or brief. We are also blessed in ECMN to have a strong “cloud of witnesses” of elders. Every one of our faith communities have an incredible cadre of elders who have much wisdom to share. I implore you take full advantage of them!