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Growing Young

I remember seeing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," based on the book of the same title by F Scott Fitzgerald. This surreal yet excellent movie stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, telling the story of a baby born old and grew younger as the years rolled by. To recap the story, Benjamin's mother dies in childbirth, and his father can't bear to raise this child alone. He is shocked at the age deformity of his newborn son. He drops his child off on the steps of a home for the elderly, run by a caring black lady. Living in this home allows Benjamin to blend into society until he is old enough (or young enough) to make a life for himself. Inevitably, his life turns out to be a fascinating adventure of joy, heartache, victory, and adversity. The main plot is centered on his relationship with his lover, whom he met when she was a young girl in the elderly person's home, and finally connected with her when their ages 'passed,' and who cared for him when she was an elderly lady, and he had become a child.

I would encourage you to see this movie! While this movie transcends any sense of practical or physical reality, it provides many challenging aspects worth considering. My primary reflection on this movie is that there is a sense in which, as Christians, throughout our life, we are to 'grow young.' Jesus seems to outline that the path to maturity is not so much in growing old as it is becoming younger. In Matt 18 (1-4), we read –"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." As Jesus talks about how "we (you) must change," he is outlining that something different, perhaps opposed to our natural bent, needs to happen. We must turn things around, going against the track that we are on, and do something different. He tells the disciples that the road to greatness is not about power, prestige, or position – roles that we generally associate with the aging process. Instead, Jesus says, "Become like a little child." If you will… become young again.

The challenge of spiritual maturity is to learn what it is like to act in childlike, not childish, ways. Learn to trust, remember to be humble, learn simplicity. Learn to be free! Rediscover joy! Become more carefree in the adventure of life! Become more excited and spend more time in awe of the ever-energized soul that the Holy Spirit continually renews. As your body grows old, let your soul move in the other direction.

Grow young.

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