‘Come to the table . . . and meet Jesus’
Re: “A memorable remembrance,” Nov. 20, 2017, page 12.
I want to affirm Troy Watson’s assertion that our communion services should “result in our hearts being set ablaze within us.”
It is now more than a year since we found a welcoming church home at Seeds of Life Community Church, a Mennonite Church Manitoba congregation in Altona. Granted, the journey that landed us in the context of this wonderful community of Jesus-followers had been long and difficult. You might say that we were spiritually and emotionally exhausted.
One of the things that attracted us to Seeds was the fact that it practises communion every Sunday. The invitation is always the same: “Come to the table—as you are—and meet Jesus.” This experience touched us deeply.
I mentioned to someone recently that, even after a year at Seeds, I can hardly remember taking communion with dry eyes. Jesus always met us at the table and continues to sustain and set our hearts on fire.
A big thanks to the Seeds community for offering a haven to spiritual refugees and regularly inviting them to share the table with it.
—Jack Heppner, Altona, Man.
General Board thanked for its confession to LGBTQ community
Re: “General Board confession to the LGBTQ community,” Oct. 9, 2017, page 9.
I want to thank the General Board for its confession to the LGBTQ community. As a member of Christ’s family, a Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregation and the LGBTQ community, I offer my deepest respect and appreciation for this step.
Following Christ is controversial in this world in which we live. We are called to make choices to open ourselves up to see what God is doing, or to close doors, thus dividing and making less of those who belong to Christ who may not see or agree with our understanding of God.
I’ve talked to many of God’s children who have walked away from seeking a relationship with God for a variety of reasons; being LGBTQ is the one closest to my heart. I rejoice in being a follower of Christ. Yes, I fail, usually in Technicolor, yet every time I do, he is there to forgive, heal, encourage and give hope.
Unfortunately, most times, my co-followers were nowhere in sight. That’s fine, because it keeps my focus on Christ, the Spirit, and my understanding of God’s Word—because one day we will stand before him to give an account of ourselves, not our brothers nor our sisters. It’s tremendously freeing, and fosters a spirituality that is personal, exciting and growing.
Thank you to the General Board for seeing and living out the Vision, Healing and Hope statement. Thank you to my MC Saskatchewan church family, who have taken me in; given me a place and reason to seek to grow in grace, joy and peace; and for demonstrating a vibrant faith and lifestyle that encourages me to respect those who may see things differently, with love and acceptance of difference.
—Peter Lippmann, Saskatoon
More responses to Maple View’s paid supplement on sexuality
Re: “Honour God with Your Bodies” insert, Sept. 25, 2017.
The Maple View Church insert has caused a lot of controversy. The homosexual issue is not as simple as the church would have us believe. It is certainly entitled to its opinion, but it is only an opinion.
To take a very few verses from the Bible to justify a particular position is, in my opinion, very irresponsible. Consider other issues, such as war, killing, slavery, racism, treating women as second class citizens, and even bigamy and polygamy, to name a few. Each of these can be justified by quoting some verses from the Bible.
It seems to me that we need to reassess how we read and understand the Scriptures. The sexual orientation issue is probably the most divisive issue the church is facing and it will never be resolved. Consequently, let us agree to disagree, lay the issue aside, and concentrate our efforts in obeying Christ’s command: “Love one another.”
—Paul Klassen, Hanover, Ont.
The author attends Hanover Mennonite Church.
I grew up in a Mennonite church but am no longer in a congregation. I could be considered an ex-Mennonite by some. I read Canadian Mennonite as a tribute to my parents, as a way to stay in touch.
Let me try to frame the secular world viewpoint as I see it:
- I have gay friends and gay work colleagues. They love, hate, complain about their in-laws, have long-term married relationships, fool-around, live and die the same as everyone else.
- I view the words “sin” and “biblical truth” as tools of hate.
- I have read the Bible and other sacred texts many times. It doesn’t matter to me if Jesus or Buddha really existed, or if the Qur’an or Torah were God-inspired or man-made.
- Truth only resonates when it connects with compassion and unconditional love. That is what I take from the words attributed to Jesus. I encourage others to read the works of Karen Armstrong, Edith Eger and others who lead the way on this new thinking.
I am hopeful that Mennonite Church Canada works through these truths and becomes a stronger light for love and compassion.
—Randy Martin, Smiths Falls, Ont.
Freedom has limits
We should be thankful we live in a country that values freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of choice. A certain professor once said, because freedom is like a free-flowing river that is protected by its boundaries, if you take away the borders, it creates a swamp.
My wife and I were often delegates to the Canadian and Manitoba assemblies. One Canadian assembly that stands out in my mind was in 1980 in Edmonton. These were the years when there was conflict in our colleges and it filtered into the local churches.
A few college students were given the freedom to present their views about our Mennonite institutions. The content of the film used said that Mennonites are too proud of their institutions, Mennonites are victims of old traditions, and even parents can’t let go of the past.
While there was some truth to what was said, even during the intermission there was no response to what was shown or said. It made me sad that there was no discussion, no dialogue.
Let’s cherish our freedom with open discussion and respect.
—Jacob J. Unger, Boissevain, Man.