The Spirit and the Summit

In a recent article in The Mennonite, the Moderator Elect of the Mennonite Church USA shared his apprehension and expectations about the Mennonite Church Summit to be held in July at Orlando, Florida.  The following paragraph was in bold print:

It is a process where we show up and listen to one another, but even more — to the Spirit. It is a process that requires yieldedness to the new and clear thing that God wants to birth among us.

This sounds to me to be a promising process because it claims to depend on the Holy Spirit to take the church back to Jesus to show the way into the future. Jesus came on the scene as a mystery God/Baby who emerges as a mystery God/Man who disappeared mysteriously beyond the clouds.  Yet ears  of witnesses had heard him, eyes had seen him, and  hands had handled him.  Jesus was real flesh and blood.  Artists depict Jesus as a real man. To the disciples Jesus was more than a man.

On the way from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemine Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for the future. He would be betrayed, arrested, be nailed to a cross and do what any other man nailed to a cross would do.  He died.

Clouds & Rain            Clouds with Wind

Earlier, Jesus taught Nicodemus that the Unseen Spirit/Wind like the wind blew whenever and wherever it chooses.  Only the effects of the Wind/Spirit can be seen. The weatherman knows we can see clouds and rain, and uses symbols we can readily understand. Another symbol is required to forecast a strong, unseen wind.

On the way from the upper room to the garden of Gethsemine Jesus assured the disciples that the Father would send a mysterious Comforter to cheer their sorrow, alleviate their pain and strengthen them. More, the Holy Ghost/Wind would  teach them everything they would need to know in the future.

Earlier, Jesus had warned that any one who spoke against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven. Later the disciples wrote that the Spirit/Wind could be resisted, grieved and sinned against only at one’s peril.

There shall be signs in the sky

MCUSA invites all Mennonites to come to the summit in Orlando. Of course, Orlando has no  mountains.  It seems to me that there will be two symbolic mountains. The one is Mt. Sinai. It is dark, gloomy, and stormy. It is on fire. Touch it and you die.  The other is Mt. Zion. It can be climbed with joyful expectation.  The city that crowns it is populated  by thousands upon thousands in joyful assembly. The Mennonites will not be alone. 

Will Mennonites yield if the Spirit does not take us back to the fundamentals, but blows instead toward a strange and queer future?

About Martin Lehman

I was born 91 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the “Old Fool” moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.

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3 Responses to The Spirit and the Summit

  1. Freda Zehr says:

    Martin, I a bit confused by that last sentence, which I recopied below–Not sure whose words those are–they are not yours, are they? I was confused b y the word, “queer”, stuck in there. I mean in todays world, I know what that word usually implies. And also the words, “Take us back to the fundamentals”.

    The sentence I am questioning:
    “Will Mennonites yield if the Spirit does not take us back to the fundamentals, but blows instead toward a strange and queer future?”

    • Martin Lehman says:

      Thanks for your response, Freda. I read it last night just before going to bed, and your confusion has bothered me during the night. I wondered, too, what I meant. I will say only this, this morning. The word “queer” was not to be taken literally. It is a metaphor that is full of intended and unintended meaning. I don’t have time this morning to expand on that, but I will try later in the day or tomorrow to say more. (and perhaps add to the confusion!)

  2. With you and others, I long for and wait for the Spirit!

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