From One Preacher to Another, and Others

The pellet fire that keeps the Old Fool warm.

This morning I awoke with aching bones.  It seemed that my body was again mourning the loss of Rhoda as we approach the Holidays and the first anniversary of her death.  I am thankful for the support of the two grief groups in which I am participating. Perhaps my body was also responding to the deaths of the children and teachers in Connecticut.  I listened to the news much of  yesterday, and I grieved with the nation.  Our president cried, and I cried with him.

Perhaps this evening you are watching CNN as I am. The president is about to speak at the Newtown inter-faith prayer vigil.  It may be that some good comes from disasters, especially when communities come together to support each other because of a disaster. Almost everyone is asking how such social disasters can be avoided. The Old Fool dares to offer an answer:

When our nation mourns for all the babies in the world who are starving in their mother’s arms, as if they were our own babies;  when we grieve for all the babies who die in war, as if they were our own babies, then, and not till then says the Old Fool, we will begin to heal from our greed, hate and hurt,  we will dispose of our guns, and we will care for the mentally depressed as they should  be cared for.

This morning as I entered the College Mennonite Church I was greeted by friends who are members of my grief support group and other friends. I empathize with pastoral teams that are responsible to plan a service that is filled with joy, yet cognizant of the pain in our world. Our pastor Phil did what was called for. He mentioned the bereaved in Newtown, and the murder of a Mennonite pastor in Mexico. As our pastor, he welcomed us, and among other things, read of the mothers of Ramah whose children were slain by order of King Herod. The mothers would not be comforted because their babies were no more..

The youth and the children gave the program according to their ages and gifts.  We assembled again at 3:00 pm. for a program presented by the choirs of the church.  Words of the songs were written by pastor Susan Dengler and the music was composed by music director Lee Dengler.  The program was powerful.  The gifts and skills in music were well performed and amazed us. The congregation enjoyed the messages in song and many of us wished that the auditorium had been filled to capacity.

Yet, The Old Fool must admit that he doubts the mythology surrounding the birth of Jesus and the pageantry with which it is presented by children year after year.  The Old Fool does not doubt the efficacy of the life Jesus lived, or the validity of what he taught. In the mind of the Old Fool, if the religions were to unite to teach the way  of Jesus with love, power and persistence a peaceful world would be possible.

I did not hear the Old Fool say that all religious should convert to Christianity for he did not say that.  Tonight The Old Fool  saw the leaders of various religions stand behind one podium and unite to comfort the people of Newtown, Connecticut.  That gives me hope.  So let us believe, work, preach, teach, sing, and persuade using all the media available, even unto the cross.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 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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