The Elkhart County 4H Fair opened on Sunday with a parade and My Joy and I decided that we wanted to watch it. So she skipped Sunday School and I skipped both church and Sunday School. We started our outing together from the College Mennonite Church parking lot. (Here is a link to the sermon by Ron Kennel which I missed and listened to later online as you may, also.)
Our first priority was to get a parking space that did not require much walking. God or simple good fortune provided both wishes. Empty chairs lined both sides of the parade route, but space in shade on the corner of an intersection was exactly what we needed for our chairs.
A friendly Mexican with two children was seated on our left. He told us one child was a son and the other a grandson. The littlest boy offered us refreshment. Later, we said, and he remembered. A bearded man with no hair on his upper lip accompanied by a prettily clad young woman joined us on our right. We supposed that he was Amish and our suspicion was confirmed when he was joined by an Amish woman. A bevy of girls surrounded them, and again we supposed they were daughters or granddaughters who had not yet taken the vows associated with baptism in the Amish church. (But how could we know without talking with them.)
The Thoughtful Mind quote received for this day was “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer. Patience is required of would-be parade watchers. This parade did what parades are supposed to do: Display the community’s fastest runners, most beautiful young and senior women as queens, best preserved antiques, most handsomely decorated prancing horses, powerful tractors, fire-engines with sirens sounding, colorful symbols of patriotism and love of country, and candy tossed to children. (The Old Fool grabbed a tootsie roll to share with My Joy.) He also cheered for Joe Bock http://www.bockforcongress.com/ as the democrat candidate for US congress.
The parade gave churches the opportunity to display their virtues. The First Baptist Church handed out packets of the “jelly bean” gospel. This was an effort to make the gospel known as simply as possible. Still, the jelly-bean gospel seemed to lack the societal changing gospel Jesus died for. I will write more of this when I review “Just Jesus, my struggle to be human” by Walter Wink.
The Clinton Frame Mennonite Church seized the opportunity. I’m told it is a rural church that likely feels at home in a parade honoring future farmers of America. In the parade the church proclaimed itself as welcoming to all. Yet I admit the difficulty for any Mennonite Church to truly welcome persons unlike ourselves. I am awfully weary of hearing a church describe itself as welcoming while withdrawing from others they deem to be too open, too welcoming.