In a recent article in The Mennonite, the Moderator Elect of the Mennonite Church USA shared his apprehension and expectations about the Mennonite Church Summit to be held in July at Orlando, Florida. The following paragraph was in bold print:
It is a process where we show up and listen to one another, but even more — to the Spirit. It is a process that requires yieldedness to the new and clear thing that God wants to birth among us.
This sounds to me to be a promising process because it claims to depend on the Holy Spirit to take the church back to Jesus to show the way into the future. Jesus came on the scene as a mystery God/Baby who emerges as a mystery God/Man who disappeared mysteriously beyond the clouds. Yet ears of witnesses had heard him, eyes had seen him, and hands had handled him. Jesus was real flesh and blood. Artists depict Jesus as a real man. To the disciples Jesus was more than a man.
On the way from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemine Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for the future. He would be betrayed, arrested, be nailed to a cross and do what any other man nailed to a cross would do. He died.
Earlier, Jesus taught Nicodemus that the Unseen Spirit/Wind like the wind blew whenever and wherever it chooses. Only the effects of the Wind/Spirit can be seen. The weatherman knows we can see clouds and rain, and uses symbols we can readily understand. Another symbol is required to forecast a strong, unseen wind.
On the way from the upper room to the garden of Gethsemine Jesus assured the disciples that the Father would send a mysterious Comforter to cheer their sorrow, alleviate their pain and strengthen them. More, the Holy Ghost/Wind would teach them everything they would need to know in the future.
Earlier, Jesus had warned that any one who spoke against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven. Later the disciples wrote that the Spirit/Wind could be resisted, grieved and sinned against only at one’s peril.
MCUSA invites all Mennonites to come to the summit in Orlando. Of course, Orlando has no mountains. It seems to me that there will be two symbolic mountains. The one is Mt. Sinai. It is dark, gloomy, and stormy. It is on fire. Touch it and you die. The other is Mt. Zion. It can be climbed with joyful expectation. The city that crowns it is populated by thousands upon thousands in joyful assembly. The Mennonites will not be alone.
Will Mennonites yield if the Spirit does not take us back to the fundamentals, but blows instead toward a strange and queer future?