Toward the Light

On ascension Sunday, Pastor Phil Waite reflected on his six years of pastoral ministry of College Mennonite.  You may hear this part of his sermon by going to the website and scrolling for an hour into the service.  Click here to hear.  Phil reported that during those  six years, 153 members of the congregation have passed on.

A new family is welcomed to the church

Most of those who passed on were raised in a mono-cultural community that prompted them to regular church attendance and generous giving.

The younger replacements are not as committed as their elders were to regular attendance nor to giving as generously to the church. 

After the service I told Phil that in my life I have faced toward the light.  Phil hugged me and said, “I know”. A snippet of I John 2:8 has long guided me.  The writer of the first epistle ascribed to John reminded his readers of the new commandment that is my motto, and sets the stage for my life’s direction when he declared that “the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining”.

I’ve turned my back to the darkness of strife between nations and tribes, and divisiveness in the church.  I focus on the horizon where the light is already shining; of a world at peace and plenty;  a world in which the petitions in the Lord’s prayer are fully answered;  a world in which God’s name is hallowed, a world to which the Kingdom has come, a world in which the will of god is done on earth as in heaven; where everyone is given daily bread; where all debts are forgiven; a world bereft of greed

When my daughter and I went to Bob Evans for a meal recently I saw a glimpse of the diverse community in which we live.   Seated across the aisle from us were a pleasant, white-skinned,  young brunette. A small, red-haired boy sat next to her. Across from these two was a  girl with a purple scarf wrapped around her head that hid her hair and accented her beautiful face. I assumed she was Muslim. Siting next to her was an African American male.  The happy mingling of cultures and colors reminded me of the diverse community which feeds the church now and even more in the future.

let the darkness go
focus on that before  you
the True Light shines now 

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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5 Responses to Toward the Light

  1. Jep Hostetler says:

    It is a privilege to call you my friend. Your wisdom and kindness help me “face toward the light” when indeed, there is so much darkness. May we reflect that light everywhere we go, and in everything we do.

  2. Don Blosser says:

    you are truly wise my friend. Your commitment to look toward the light is a good word for many of us. I find it interesting that at Bob Evans you saw the multi-cultural persons in the same restaurant, and you saw a good thing. (and I gather you were not frightened by their presence!) I wish more people in this town and in this nation would see things that same way. I suspect there were others in the restaurant who felt less safe because of these other cultures were moving freely among us.
    Last Sunday I was in Ft Wayne at the Arab Fest. I ate lunch with an African/American family across the table, a Muslim man on my left, and two Arab women to my right. This was not intentional, it is just how it worked out. We talked about children, family life (the women explained the food I was eating), what we do (or did). It was a delightful 30 minutes under a big tent. It was a serendipitous moment that I did not plan for—but it was a beautiful example of the heavenly feast that is talked about in scripture. May we all have eyes to see the presence of the divine all around us.

  3. Mary Bew says:

    I want to remember this. Thank you.

  4. Frances Sawyer Jackson says:

    Martin, your message toward the light and away from darkness is encouraging. I am reminded of the light when I read your writing. Grateful for being reacquainted with you after fifty years.

  5. Freda Zehr says:

    I loved these words, especially the final illustration. I find the same thing here in Harrisonburg. It is so good to different groups sharing. But it feels at times as tho the political problems have really separated people, more so then ever before in my 81 years. I have observed that we are put in the same box, in other words, if I did not vote for Trump or if I am critical of him, I am labeled a hated, “liberil left winger” yet throughout my voting years of life, I have never identified myself or limited myself to the Democrat or republican stance, but would read and study the stance each one took on things that were important to me. I recall being highly criticized by people when I took up for Pres. Clinton and they would always bring up his extra marital affair as proof of his character. Yet those very same christians are now sticking up for Trump in spite of his multiple marital infidelities and preganacies outside of marriage.

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