From the morning Psalm for Tuesday in the week of Proper 6B (Pentecost 3, 2015)
3 That which we have heard and known, and what our forefathers have told us, we will not hide from their children.
Earlier today I had a conversation with a colleague about a newspaper article containing advice to teenagers: don’t whine; the world doesn’t owe you anything; get a job; do something useful; visit somebody; mow the lawn. It was wordier than that and, in my opinion, it was gently put: it admonished them to contribute. My colleague, on the other hand, said it just sounded like “Get off my lawn!” It was just something from a cranky old man who’d forgotten what it was like to be 18. ~ I’m 63; my colleague is in his early 30s. Do you suppose that makes a difference in our perceptions? ~ But I thought of today’s morning psalm and this verse, the very verse from which I took the title of this blog. How do we communicate what “we have heard and known” to a younger generation without sounding like curmudgeons and cranks? Do we remember what it sounded like (or at least how we heard it) when “our forefathers … told us?” I do … it sounded like “Get off my lawn!” … like just some old fart who had never been 18 or, if he had, had forgotten what it was like. ~ Is it even possible for one generation to pass on to another “what we have heard and known” without sounding like that? Maybe not. Maybe younger persons (yes, I was one at one time) can’t hear an older generations wisdom until they, too, are an older generation. How many of us have had the experience of saying something and then thinking, “When did I start sounding like my father/mother?” It’s when we have that experience, perhaps, that we finally appreciate what our forebears “heard and knew;” perhaps that’s when we’ve finally “heard and known.”