Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Old Man and The Two Ages

The other day, as I was on my daily commute to work, an old man happened to sit on the aisle across mine in this jeepney that was among the many jeepneys that ride the route I usually take. His face was marked by deep furrows, he was bent, almost emaciated, and was coughing all throughout the trip. I was moved to pity. The undignity of the sight overcame me, and I thought to myself that this man, perhaps, is a husband, a father, and was once the pillar of his family; but in his present state, all sturdiness and notions of strength and dependability have all but faded. He reminded me of the harsh and grim realities of the present age and the glory and redemption of the one to come.

In the present age, every human being is subject to the winding down of the clock. Though modern culture exalts youth and the illusion of longevity in its many manifestations (even in so-called Christianity!), it is but the rebellious reaction of fallen man to the curse that he finds himself an heir to. Many huff and puff while in their prime, seemingly immortal, oblivious to the dirt and worm that await to reclaim their own.

But then I am taken to the child of God who has aged in the hope of the future age. He has not spent the meat of his days trying to curry the world's favor, with its symbols of youth, power, and prestige. He has not counted it as loss to be held in disesteem by his peers for his disinterest in their shallow pursuits, even those who supposedly are his siblings in the faith but worship at the altar of Mammon. No, this old man lived as though he was a pilgrim, making his way uneasily through this life of pain, disease, sin and temptation, looking forward to his true home, the abode of righteousness. He has lived his days in the reality of the glory that is the heritage of the saints, having sought to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through everything he has put his hands on, in honest, hard work, and in communion with other faithful pilgrims who share his passion for the things of God.

In a very real sense, the old man in Christ is possessed of a greater blessing than most of us who have yet to advance in years for he is almost there, ready to leave this present age to be with his Chief Desire. And though he may not look quite dissimilar from the man I saw in my commute, the old man of Christ and the old man of the world could not be any more different.

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