February 14, 2014
Written by Steven Liechty

Donna Schaper

"Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.'" - Matthew 15:1

The child had a medium-sized roller bag; the parent had a large roller bag. The mother was yelling, "You have to carry your own bag!"  The airport was observing yet another scene of intergenerational difficulty.

Have you ever thought that problem with children, especially teenagers, might be their parents? No wonder so many break with the traditions of their elders, especially if their message is that we have to carry a bag that is too large for us.

I realize that we all, no matter our age, have to carry our own bag.  I also realize that we do honor our elders, even though it doesn't always seem so.  Elders could get a lot more respect if they gave out more respect.  And airports would be happier places.


O God, when the loneliness is real and the help is limited, allow us to carry our own bag with dignity, deftness and deliberation. And help us to honor our elders by telling them we need help, when we do need help.  Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.

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