In Goshen, and most everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, nature is springing to life. Even Homer, Alaska, reports popping crocus, and a booming honey bee business. Flowers everywhere attract pollinators to carry pollen to waiting plant ovaries. Seeds as numerous as the sand on the seashore are a product of evolution and/or creation. Flowers make spring beautiful, and observers of this year’s pollen count describe it as as a tsunami afflicting people with allergies.
As the the carpenter’s son walked the countryside, he observed primitive farm practices of his day. The method of broadcasting seed allowed some seeds to fall among weeds and be choked out, allowed other seeds to fall on shallow soil and whither and die, allowed other seed to fall on the bare road and be devoured by birds.
Other seeds fell on good soil and produced a harvest, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. And Jesus concluded, “Let anyone with ears* listen!’
The pastor of College Mennonite Church is leading a series of sermons on the parables of Jesus. A parable, he said, is a teaching tool that allows hearers to ponder its meaning on their own. So I suppose it is legitimate for me to wonder why good seed falling on good soil produces varied-fold harvests? This reminds me of the visit of Garrison Keilor to Goshen College.
From the platform of Sauder Hall Keillor lauded Mennonites for our history of being steadfast when persecuted and our musical accomplishments. Rachel and Eldon were in the audience and they reported that Keillor obviously enjoyed the Goshen College chamber choir and the audiences participation, and said that we are known worldwide, in spite of our schisms.
I have a hunch that we lack 100 fold reproduction because of the many schisms in the church. Jesus prayed that those who believe on him might be completely one so that the world would believe that God had sent him.
In recent days the College Mennonite Church community has lost three giant witnesses: Lawrence Greaser, (93) Director of missions in Puerto Rico and South America and recognized for his flexibilty; Millard Lind, (96) teacher of Hebrew and Hebrew culture; and Joel Kauffmann (65). His life seemed too short, yet he authored Pontius Puddle, several screen plays, and was the developer of Nazareth Village, Menno Hof, and the Museum of the Bible as his current project.
I don’t know who wrote the comments on the back of the program folder for Kauffman, but it reveals us to be like-minded in some ways. Kauffmann “thought we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously to counter the pollution of conflicts in the church that harmed each other and our witness of God to the world.” (Emphasis mine.)
How might the harvest from the ministry of these three men and the Christian church be increased if divisions healed and the church were completely one as Jesus prayed?