Last weekend we welcomed lots of folk to The Vicarage from our Sunday 9am Congregation. There was a great selection of cakes, lots of conversation and laughter and the summer sun shone warm and bright. But what stood out most for me was the surprise and then smile on Margaret Hornby’s face. We used the gathering as an opportunity to celebrate her turning 95 this week and so she received her own cake and flowers and a special rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. And she loved it!! We were pleased to mark the occasion – not only because 95 in quite a milestone but also because Margaret is a wonderful person. She’s a warm-hearted, encouraging, kind and prayerful woman – whose life has not always been easy and who continues to shine bright for Christ.

Churches and communities across the North include people like Margaret – older people who have cared and given of themselves and continue to do so. But they are sometimes forgotten or simply taken for granted. In these days when there is rightly so much emphasis on reaching the young it’s easy to miss those who are older. I’m sure at The Belfrey we don’t get it right all the time, which is why it was good to celebrate with some of our senior members last week, and especially with Margaret.

Psalm 92 describes people ‘flourishing’ as they live in relationship with God using the picture-language of a strong tall cedar tree. And it includes the wonderfully descriptive line: ‘they will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green’ (v14). That’s a great reminder that there’s so much wisdom and life in the elderly which should be honoured, appreciated and shared. God’s kingdom includes all ages. And he is calling many in our day to enter that kingdom and to flourish. The young. And the old.