Grace and Fairness

College Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN
College Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN

 

It took me about 7 days to write my last post on “The Church and Fairness.”  According to the record kept by my computer, I visited the draft 42 times,in those seven days. In spite of my efforts I may not have communicated well.  Some one told me that it was difficult for the reader to get the connection between the post and its title.  So I chose to return to the concept,  this time in a post with the title “Grace and Fairness.”

Ordained to pastoral ministry today

Ordained to pastoral ministry today {This picture was taken on Valentines Day two years ago}

On Sunday morning past a young woman who has served the College Mennonite Church for five years with a license was ordained to life time Christian ministry in College Mennonite Church, the Indiana-Michigan Conference, the Mennonite Church USA, and to the Church Universal. Due to the snow and cold I stayed at home and witnessed  the graceful, grace filled ceremony via the internet.

In her most recent sermon, as I recall it, she spoke of her unique role since there are not many  Mennonite ministers who are women, and fewer of them are  young mothers.  She is a drama teacher at Bethany Christian School, and does interpretive dancing at CMC. She often has a child in her arms as she serves in the pulpit. She does all of this with joyful dignity and grace. She accepted ordination with grace. That is one meaning of grace.

fairGrace is also beneficence.  God has been good to us in spite of our pride, selfishness and  other inappropriate behaviors that fall short of God’s glory. God and the church by grace allow us to belong. Our gifts are exercised with the church’s blessing. When an institutional church welcomes one in spite of sin, and rejects  another because of their sin, that church is not being fair to the one it denies.

The need for fairness is underscored in Romans 15:7  which says clearly:  Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you,  for the glory of God. For a more comprehensive list of such verses click here. If a church will not be moved by logic or rhetoric, it may be touched by the simple fairness imposed on it by the grace of God, for God’s glory.  (You may view the whole Sunday Morning service here or go more directly to the ordination by scrolling to approximately one hour on the time line. )

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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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2 Responses to Grace and Fairness

  1. Audrey Metz says:

    Martin, I always read your column and enjoy it; however, with this one I am left with a huuuge question: What is her name?? I would prefer to think of her in name, not merely as “she”!

    • I’m uncertain sometimes when a name is appropriate and when it is an invasion of privacy. In this case I should probably have included it. Her name is Talashia Keim Yoder. Thanks for asking.

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