Text: 1 Kings 19:1-12

Speakers: Joel Call and Elisa Leahy

Photo: Elisa Leahy


What is a border?

This question was posed to us our first night upon arriving in Tucson, Arizona as we began mentally preparing ourselves to investigate this particular, hot-topic region: the border. About a month ago, Mennonite Central Committee hosted a Borderlands learning tour in the southern Arizona border region with the goal of gaining a better understanding of the many complexities both human and political that reside there. Both Elisa Leahy and I, along with a handful of others, were fortunate enough to attend.

What is a border?
A demarcation; an arbitrary boundary or line used to separate? Perhaps something along those lines?

This is a story I’ve heard. Antonio is a field worker in a small town in Michoacan. A local cartel asks him to work for them, and he declines. One night, the cartel drives by and shoots his family’s house. Their house is built simply out of wood, and Antonio’s wife, Manuela, recounts how easily the bullets pierced their home. So they leave town, take a bus to the border town Agua...

Texts: Psalm 118:19-24; 1 Peter 2:1-10

It was a little over thirteen years ago that this congregation began a discernment process regarding membership.  Some of you remember this well.  Many of you weren’t here 13 years ago. The question at hand was whether the congregation could openly affirm persons for membership regardless of sexual orientation.  It was a thorough process, lasting about 10 months.  It involved study of scripture and church documents and the science of sexuality, listening to faith stories, especially those of gay folks, meeting in small groups.  It was not a new discussion here, but it did result in a first time official vote to be a publicly welcoming congregation.  That was February 2007 – a coming out moment of sorts for the congregation.

Five years ago, without need for much further processing, the congregation voted to clarify that sexual orientation was a non-factor in the hiring of church staff, and that pastors were affirmed to officiate at weddings of opposite and same sex couples.

Yesterday a number of us rode a hay wagon through downtown Columbus anywhere between zero and five miles per hour, with a whole lot of zero at the beginning.  We...

Speaker: Renee Kanagy

Texts: 2nd Timothy 1:3-7; 1 Corinthians 4:1

Preached during the ordination service of Pastor Mark Rupp by his mentoring pastor.  Audio only.

Texts:  Zechariah 3:1-5; John 14:15-26

One day, not so long ago, a woman walked into a grocery store.  While there, she slipped one of the items under her jacket and tried to walk out with it.  It was a frozen chicken, so it was hard to hide.  A security guard spotted her, detained her, and called a police officer.  The officer searched her and found the frozen chicken.  He ordered her to accompany him to the police station.

Lots of people saw this happening.  One reacted differently than the others.  Standing in line to check out, he told the cashier he wanted to buy that very chicken the woman was holding.  He then brought the receipt to the officer, who reluctantly agreed to let the woman go.

If this story sounds familiar, you must be a regular reader of the CMC Lamplighter, our monthly newsletter.  Or at least you read the May edition.  This story was told to Phil Hart, who wrote the article, by Yasir Makki.  Yasir lived and studied in Columbus in the late 90’s and early 2000’s before returning to his home in Sudan.  He now leads a school and church network.  We help support...

Text: John 13:31-35

The writer of Ecclesiastes famously said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  And he should know.  He’s been around the sun a time or two.  He’s an old man.  He’s seen a lot of living and a lot of dying.  And, let me tell you youngsters, there’s nothing new under the sun.

Of course, one wonders what his reaction would have been had someone slipped him an i-phone which enabled him to Facetime with his cousin way out in the Judean hill country.  Does the relentless march of technological innovation qualify as something new?  Or, to stick with the perspective of Ecclesiastes, is it ultimately just more mist in the breeze of time?

What is new, at least according to Jesus in John’s gospel, is a commandment he gives his closest companions.  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

To claim love as a new commandment is borderline comical, to the point that one wonders if Jesus is speaking a bit tongue in cheek.  These words are a part of the lengthy farewell discourse, covering John chapter 13...