I come from the generation where it was un “hip” to be (or say) “hep” (that was an old fogy’s term). I come from the generation who in the ‘70’s considered a song from the ‘60’s to be a “moldy oldie.” I come from the generation whose rallying cry was “Don’t trust anyone over thirty!” (who would have ever thought we of that generation would get “old”)!
The common theme in the above statements is that there is something wrong with anything “old.” If it is old, it must be out of date, out of touch and not relevant to my life. As a child of this generation, this belief about “old” things carried over into my Christian life.
For the first few years of my Christian walk I had this same view about the writings of our Christian ancestors. How can something that old, said so long ago, have any meaning for me today. It became hard for me to maintain this belief when mature Christians I knew and respected kept reading and referring to some of these “moldy oldie” Christian writings. They seem to be so blessed and deeply impacted by them. It finally started to dawn on me that these “ancient ones” might just know something about God that I didn’t. (Praise the Lord that He breaks us out of youthful ignorance and arrogance)! So I bought a copy of Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God and from reading about his life got the taste of what it must be like to “Be joyful always, pray continuously, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18), and to realize that through a deeper relationship with Christ, this kind of life is available to me. Then I picked up a copy of The Imitation of Christ and was blown away by the realization of what it really meant “to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29) and that this was God’s ultimate purpose for all our lives. I found a copy of Fenelon’s A Seeking Heart and was moved to the depth of my being as I discovered a man who could say with the Psalmist “I seek Him with all my heart” (Ps. 119:10) and was personally challenged to seek God in this same way. I read The Spiritual Guide by Michael Molinos, and I was challenged to expand my understanding of true prayer and meditation.
I have found the truths in these books to be so profound, that I have to read and digest what they say in very small bites, usually only a paragraph or a page at a time. These saints, who are a part of the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, have become some of my mentors in the faith - striving to teach me how to know and seek God in ways I never even dreamed of or imagined before.
So here’s a thought. Next time we’re in Hastings or Barnes and Noble checking out the latest John Grisham or Michael Crichton “Thriller,” how about we wander through the Christian section and pick up one of these Goldie Oldies. We may be thrilled and blessed by them beyond what we can imagine.
You are loved,