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For discussion: Other faiths speak out on end-of-life issues

1. John Longhurst refers to a recent poll indicating that 70 percent of Canadians support physician-assisted suicide and 68 percent believe that those who help a seriously ill person commit suicide should not face legal charges. How would you respond to these questions? Why do you think these numbers are so high? What concerns do you have about assisted suicide?

Listen to the unjust judge

Anita Fast

When I first read this passage in Luke’s gospel, in preparation for preaching on it, I thought, “Oh, this is just too easy.” Unlike some stories which leave you scratching your head, this one seems all too straightforward. If even an unjust judge listens to a persistent widow, how much more will God—a just judge—listen to our cries?

For discussion: Listen to the unjust judge

1. In what situations have you prayed for justice or deliverance? Have you ever begun to doubt that you were praying hard enough, or even to doubt the existence of God? How do you keep your faith when there is so much injustice and suffering in the world? Do you find the story of the persistent widow encouraging? Do you find Anita Fast’s interpretation of Luke 18:1-8 convincing?

‘Sounding the Scriptures’

Biblical storyteller John Epp

 

Biblical storyteller John Epp

Biblical storyteller John Epp

Interviewer Ross Muir

Managing editor Ross W. Muir was introduced to biblical storytelling when John Epp, a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers Canada and Toronto United Mennonite Church, visited First Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., last spring. Following that encounter, the two chatted in person and online over the summer and into the fall.

Imagine!

Ray Friesen suggests, ‘If we can imagine a nativity scene in first-century Palestine (pictured), we can possibly imagine it in our 21st-century world.’

Ray Friesen

In Charles Dickens' well-known story, A Christmas Carol, anyone who dares enter the inner sanctum of Ebenezer Scrooge's office with so much as a suggestion of Christmas is greeted with the now famous words: "Bah! Humbug!

Reading list

  • Atonement, Justice and Peace: The Message of the Cross and the Mission of the Church by Darrin Snyder Belousek. Eerdmans, 2012.
  • Instead of Atonement: The Bible’s Salvation Story and our Hope for Wholeness by Ted Grimsrud. Cascade Books, 2013.

Atonement

A statue of the Good Shepherd at the St. Callisto Catacombs, Rome. In the early centuries, Jesus was much more likely to be portrayed as the Good Shepherd than as a crucified Messiah.

The Gero Crucifix in the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral, Germany). In the Middle Ages, Jesus’ suffering on the cross came to the fore, shadowing other images of Jesus as Saviour.

Jesus is pictured on the side of this early Christian sarcophagus in the Vatican Museum turning his back on Moses and the old law, and giving the new law of love to Peter.

How Christ actually provides for our salvation is the theme of many Mennonite books.

Dave Rogalsky is the Eastern Canada correspondent for Canadian Mennonite and pastor of Wilmot Mennonite Church, New Hamburg, Ont.

In the 1990s, when the Mennonite church in Ontario was deciding whether to add Hymnal: A Worship Book to its pews, a dear (now departed) saint approached me, saying, “I hear that they’ve taken out all the blood songs.” The person wondered if this important part of church heritage and theology was going to be left behind.

Uncle Sam goes to jail

Sam and Beulah Martin on their wedding day.

Of memories I have of family members, the one about my Uncle Sam’s arrest on April 19, 1944, and his imprisonment, which became legendary in our community, left an indelible mark. Uncle Sam was born in the U.S. and was 18 months old when the family moved to Duchess [Alta.]. He had been baptized into the Mennonite Church and attended regularly.

‘Let nobody judge them’

An Altona, Man., war memorial bears the names of local Mennonites who served and died during the Second World War.

V. Wiebe of B.C.’s Fraser Valley served with the Canadian forces in the Second World War, earning five medals. According to ‘The Mennonite Menace: Real or Imagined, an online report from a University of the Fraser Valley student, 66 of 99 Mennonites in Yarrow, B.C., served in the Canadian military, either in combatant roles or as part of the medical corps.

V. Wiebe of B.C.’s Fraser Valley served with the Canadian forces in the Second World War, earning five medals.

Like the cenotaphs in Winkler and Altona, the Morden, Man., war memorial also contains Mennonite names.

Of late, many peace-minded Canadians have been decrying the country’s increasing militarization, calling to mind this country’s proud peacekeeping tradition as if it was a defining feature of confederation. Unfortunately, it’s a false memory, as Canada’s peacekeeping forces weren’t formed until 1956. Its military involvements, however, go back nearly to our country’s beginning.

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