“The Dance of the Generations”
On Sunday, I talked about chapter 2 of Parker Palmer’s recent book, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old. The chapter was about how the “older” generations relate to the “younger” ones. Palmer suggests that we stop using the metaphor “passing the baton” from one generation to the next—and I agree with him. The baton metaphor implies competition which suggests winners and losers. It also implies giving up when older folks say, “I’ve done my part and now I’m done.” Finally, it implies a failure to accept responsibility, as if we can tell younger folks that it is up to them to clean up the mess we have made.
Instead, Palmer suggests two other more helpful metaphors: music and dance. Imagine an orchestra where older and more experienced musicians are making beautiful music with younger and newer players. Imagine a dance where people of all ages are joyfully dancing together. (If that is a stretch for you, see the beginning of my sermon where I talk about my niece’s recent wedding reception in California.) Both of these visions more accurately describe a community of God’s grace and the world we can create together.
Palmer also talks about the importance of facing up to our failures and telling the stories of our failures across the generations. He tells us in the book that young people often feel like failures, and hearing the stories of failure in people they look up to can bring great hope. There is grace found in the vulnerability of honest storytelling. Grace is also found whenever people reach across the spaces that separate the generations—and the spaces that separate people in any way.
May this season of Lent be a time of personal reflection as we all ask ourselves how we can reach across spaces to others; and may there be new blessings on both sides!
I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday and Sunday!
Kahu Alan Akana
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.
To see a video of a recent message by Kahu Akana, click HERE. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see many of his past messages and subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.
You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To see our Sunday morning schedule, click HERE.
Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.
To learn more about Kahu Akana (and the rest of the staff at Koloa Union Church), click HERE.