Late for Church


Winter stalls

On Sunday, I called My Joy to tell her I would be late for church and might not walk to the front to sit by her.  So, instead I sat by an aging mentor of mine.  He had his ear-phoned head bowed as he made notes on his bulletin.  After the service I asked him why he was writing.  He explained that a medication made him drowsy and writing helped him hold on to the main points of the Sermon.   Sermons deserve such attention.


Spring waits

I had set my alarm for the leap ahead, but was delayed by interest in the national public radio station. I listened to Krista Tippett’s interview with  Sherwin Nuland on The Biology of the Spirit.  Nuland’s first book was titled “How we Die.” In the interview he said that he and  creationists have the word “wonder” in common.  Believers wonder at the God of creation; and Nuland wondered at the creative power of nature.

I was also delayed and made hopeful by listening to an interview of the founder of the Vietnam Veterans Restoration Project.  Some of its veterans help themselves recover from the agony of remorse by returning to Vietnam to help it recover from the war. That’s a Jesus-like behavior.

A third interview was with  Cristal Pressly   She was but a child when her father came home from the Vietnam war with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  She and her mother lived in fear of the terror and rage that he feared.  As an adult, Cristal and her father have reconnected and written a book titled “Thirty Days with my Father“.  Writing the book helped heal them from PTSD.  Such stories increase my hope.


Last spring a flower emerged through a crack in the concrete of our back porch

These interviews prepared me for the church services.  In the worship service I wondered at God. During the Christian education hour I wondered at nature.  I was content, informed and stimulated in both settings.

On Sunday noon My Joy and I were guests at the Olive Garden in Elkhart.  Our host is a quiet thinker interested in church history.  Because he recognized its historical value, our host gave me a copy of Promises Made, an editorial written by Paul Schrag for the Mennonite World Review.

Yesterday I went online and read the editorial  and the long list of comments that followed.  If you are a Mennonite I encourage you especially to  click on this link:   Mennonite World Review. After reading the comments I concluded that they confirmed the wisdom of the editorial.  It is time for a turn in the dialogue.  The dialogue should not be about the need to discipline, but about the virtue and value of remaining one for Jesus sake. It is not too late!


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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1 Response to Late for Church

  1. Miriam says:

    That is, without question, the best editorial I have ever read, Martin. Thank you for sharing the link.

    It makes me think that perhaps I have not necessarily abandoned the covenant entirely, that my desire to speak with those with whom I disagree (Mennonite or not) is motivated by love and by hope and even by faith. These are words / ideas which are becoming more clearly (and broadly?) defined as I age & grow.

    Thank you, too, for this post. It touches on science and wonder, PTSD and the healing of brokenness, and the power of covenant. I believe the thoughts are not random, but are actually part of one big thing.–0

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