‘What is it that endures?’

From Our Leaders

January 19, 2022 | Opinion | Volume 26 Issue 2
Garry Janzen | Mennonite Church B.C.
(Image by sspiehs3/Pixabay)

In this beginning time of 2022, while we are coming out of the dark of winter, and hopefully out of the dark of this pandemic, what is it that endures? Also, what is it that gives us hope?

Jesus has said that the church will endure (Matthew 16:18), and, while we are often seeing that there are fewer people in the pews in our gathered community, our mission to love as Jesus loves endures. It is in our longing to be a part of what God is doing in the world that we find hope, and this longing compels us to be lifelong learners of what we can do and who we can be.

This coming summer, at the Mennonite Church Canada Gathering 2022 in Edmonton, our theme will be: “We declare: What we have seen and heard.”

It will be an opportunity for people in our nationwide church to re-examine what it means to tell the good news, and to share and hear stories of bearing witness to the gospel of peace.

We will learn about what it means to be witnesses to the love of Jesus in the context of this land of both Indigenous and settler peoples. Being educated about the residential school tragedy and about climate change will empower the church for a better future.

I have been learning about how our messing with nature has led to this past year’s phenomena of a heat dome and atmospheric rivers that led to massive destruction and loss in British Columbia, where I live.

I have been learning about the COVID-19 pandemic and how viruses work, as well as the human capacity for greed amid a global need for vaccine.

In a few days I will be invited to get my third dose of the vaccine, while I also know there are many in other parts of the world who are waiting for their first.

All these educational opportunities empower us with tools to be God’s witnesses in a broken world in a better way.

So, what is it that endures?

Our Creator, who loves the world and the people of the world, endures. God’s love and faithfulness endure and, in this confidence, we find our hope.

The church will endure, even though it may look very different, as we anticipate what our reality and opportunities will be like beyond this pandemic, and as we become a truly intercultural church.

May we hold tightly to this hope, and may we know God’s peace amidst the loss of some of our ways that may not endure.

Garry Janzen is the executive minister of Mennonite Church B.C.

Read more From Our Leaders columns:
Perpetual epiphany
The heart of evangelism
Inspired by ‘this ground’
Keeping a kettle out of the landfill
We are a global family of faith every day

(Image by sspiehs3/Pixabay)

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