Having blogged the other day about mid-life my mind wandered to the passage in Joel 2:28, requoted in Acts 2:17: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams’.  I’ve always found this quite an inspiring passage but for the first time the other day it occurred to me: if the young will have visions and the old dream dreams, what is the lot of those in the middle of life?  On one hand this feels exclusive (even leaving aside the gendered nature of the language) – is there nothing for those in mid-life?  No special gift?  But there is another way of seeing this passage: typically those in mid-life are those who are immersed in running things, in holding the reins of power.  Perhaps they (we?) do not give themselves the time to dream or expect visions.  But perhaps also the vision of the last days in which the Spirit is poured out is one of a generationally balanced, generationally-inclusive kingdom?  If those in mid-life are typically those who hold power, their power is nonetheless balanced by the dreams and visions of the old and the young, who through the dreams and visions they receive remind those immersed in the business of keeping the wheels turning that there is an alternative to the status quo, in particular the life of the Kingdom that is breaking in.  Those who have less in the way of social power have a vital role to play.  I don’t know how viable such a reading of this passage is, but it does beg the question of how (in churches which are disproportionately run by those aged from their forties to early seventies) we create spaces to listen to the visions of the young and the dreams of the old, and reshape our understanding of our life together in the light of it.

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