I once heard an elderly couple say, “You’re never too old to retire in God’s work!”
And until that moment, my opinion of retirement had always resembled sunshine, long vacations, grandkid babysitting, and doing whatever a person desired. After working decades from 9-to-5, we deserve a break, right?
While the thought is glorious, after hearing that couple’s testimony, I realized that those ideas are nothing but worldly imaginations. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to pin down Scripture that backed up the term “retirement.” Actually, I found Psalm 92:12-15 pretty interesting. It says:
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
And the phrase, “They will still bear fruit in old age,” reminded me of Galatians 6:9:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about these verses that make me question if we’re ever really supposed to get to “live the dream” after retirement. Rather, as it’s been seen throughout many different passages, as believers, we’re to remain steadfast and serve Him no matter our age or employment status.
In the new film, Stay Prayed Up, Lena Mae Perry (or mother Perry as many call her) takes this ideology to heart and doesn’t let age stop her from doing much of anything. At 83, this powerhouse gospel singer has been using her talents to glorify God for 50 years – and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
In 1973, Perry, her sister Aunt Mae Bennett, and Ethel Mae Elliott ended up being the only ones who showed up for church choir one Sunday. And on that day, the Branchettes were born. The trio became one of the most well-known Gospel groups in North Carolina. Their three-part harmony was admired from near and far.
As the sole survivor of the original trio, Perry honors the late Branchettes through this eye-opening documentary almost 50 years after the group’s conception. Stay Prayed Up invites viewers to follow the new Branchettes group (with the addition of the powerhouse vocalist Angela Kent and pianist Wilbur Tharpe), as they record their first-ever live performance.
Audiences are sure to be encouraged as they watch the toe-tapping journey of Perry’s life, faith, and music career. With Perry’s joyful tunes and a heart full of praise, it’s hard for viewers not to have a smile on their faces.
The film is available to stream on Apple TV and Google Play and has a runtime of 72 minutes.
Caution: The film features musician and narrator Phil Cook, not to be confused with author and TV producer Phil Cooke. AFA does not endorse all of Cook’s projects. However, Perry’s story is too good not to be shared.