Preparation for yielding

The bonfire

Freda informed me that she is confused by the last sentence of my last post.

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

I had a restless night after I read of Freda’s confusion.  The purpose of my writing is not to confuse, but to challenge to more thought. I admit it, the words in the sentence are confusing, even to me.  My intention, however, is clear to me.

warming by bonfire

Preparation is essential sometimes.  My Joyce and I were invited with others for an evening meal.  I did not know we were going to a picnic out doors on the edge of a forest.  It was cool and windy and I was unprepared.  The man who drove us there had blankets in his trunk and gave them to me to shield me from the weather. He may have saved me from my bronchial weakness.

I intended to suggest that the people assembled at the Orlando summit should consider the possibility that the Spirit may  ask them and us to put a time limit on certain past fundamentals.  For example, Jesus admitted that in the past the Jews had been guided by certain fundamentals, but he had the authority to give them an altered fundamental. I hoped to help prepare the way for the Spirit in July, 2017, to announce that certain established fundamentals should be intentionally disregarded and that the church should be guided into the future by new or altered fundamentals.

This leads me to the second half of the confusing sentence: but (the Spirit) blows instead toward a strange and queer future.  I concluded during the night that I should not have used the word “queer”. It has too many definitions and is sometimes offensive. My use of the word was not helpful.

I intended to help prepare the way for the Spirit to move the Summit toward an unexpected and uneasy future.   Mennonites are used to being non-conformed to the world. Recent generations of Mennonites appear to be accommodating to the ways of the world economically, politically, and religiously.  The church should prepare for the Holy Spirit to ask the summit to examine the tendency to accommodate.

The New Testament describes people of faith as pilgrims and strangers on the earth.  Immigrants, as it were. John McKutchan sings “I am an immigrant”,  A section of the lyric reads:

I am an immigrant
I am a stranger in this place
Here both for the grace of God
Go I
I am an immigrant
I have left everything I own
To everything I’ve known
I say goodbye

The Summit must be ready for the possibility of yielding to an immigrant lifestyle in the future. Living as an immigrant is not easy.

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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?

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Let me be clear

While riding on my scooter and enjoying the green grass of spring I came on twigs from the last spring. They were broken, brown branches and dry, a bit of history from which we may  learn.

Let it be clear that I agree with the Apostle  Paul when he wrote,  “For what we (Paul, Timothy and Titus) preach is not ourselves (mere humanness)  but Jesus Christ as Lord, (Savior, redeemer and High Priest}  and ourselves (made of the same stuff as you are) as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”   2 Cor. 4:5

The pixie preacher on the second Sunday of Eastertide gave me more hope

A friend commented to me after my last post about moving from doubt to hope and joy that he and his wife  have long learned to love people without celebrating their sin, or ours. I replied that I do not see how my post could be interpreted to mean that I celebrate anyone’s sin. No more than the prodigal’s father could be understood to celebrate his son’s sin when he threw a feast on his son’s return. I was celebrating the evidence that CMC’s statement had been healing as was intended.

This exchange reminded me of a serindipitus  moment as I entered the first evening banquet at the Minorities Ministries Council reunion.  I was immediately recognized by one of the elders who exclaimed so all could hear — the bishop, the bishop is here.  Let me touch him to see if he is real, not a ghost.  He proceeded to exclaim over my halo. I was embarrassed.

After we were seated the master of ceremonies whispered in my ear that she would call on me to pray a short prayer.  I told her I didn’t know how to pray long prayers.  Assured of my consent, she announced the prayer before I had time to formulate even a short one

One quilt out of many patches

The prayer was something like this:  We are gathered here as sinners, with halos.  We are here as one and we come as one to the One who is One.

Then I prayed a blessing on the food before us and for the hands that  prepared it.  The meal was sumptuous. The hands must have been brown, black, red, yellow and white that gathered, processed, and delivered the food prepared for our consuming.

We are connected
all with halos from the One
the God of all grace  

AM I CLEAR
THAT WE SHOULD NOT, OUGHT NOT, CAN NOT
DISCONNECT?

 

 

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