Texts: Genesis 3:16-21; Romans 8:19-27

Speaker: Joel Miller

She fell like a maple seed, pirouetting on an autumn breeze.  A column of light streamed from a hole in the Skyworld, marking her path where only darkness had been before.  It took her a long time to fall.  In fear, or maybe hope, she clutched a bundle tightly in her hand.

Hurtling downward, she saw only dark water below.  But in that emptiness there were many eyes gazing up at the sudden shaft of light.  They saw there a small object, a mere dust mote in the beam.  As it grew closer, they could see that it was a woman, arms outstretched, long black hair billowing behind as she spiraled toward them.

The geese nodded to one another and rose together from the water in a wave of goose music.  She felt the beat of their wings as they flew beneath to break her fall.  Far from the only home she’d ever known, she caught her breath at the warm embrace of soft feathers as they gently carried her downward.  And so it began.

The geese could not hold the woman above the water for much longer, so they...

Texts: Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:14 &17-20

Speaker: Julie Hart

I realized I was in serious trouble one summer working with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Israel and the West Bank when I began to look at every Israeli Settler I saw as an irrational, fanatic, out to get me.  Certainly, there was some basis to my fear.  Day after day patrolling the streets of Hebron I would greet each person I passed with acknowledgment and a hello in the appropriate language.  And each time I passed an Israeli settler, I got a similar response.  The most common response was a cold stare cutting right through me as if I were either a non-person or an evil one.  The bolder youth and men responded with such phrases as, “Go home Nazi” or “Christian Bitch save your own people.”  The young men, when walking in groups would often monopolize the entire street and refuse to move despite my presence.  It was a scary situation for me.  I never knew how they might respond by what appeared to be such hatred. 

But even more frightening than their behavior was my mental response.  I was building the blocks of enemy formation.   Not that this...

Texts: Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27

Speaker: Joel Miller

Our fourth commitment is a big one: “Share our time and resources, discerning our call to both work and rest.”

It’s big because our time and resources cover the full span of how we order our lives.  It’s big because in Jesus’ teachings, finances and resource sharing are inseparable from expressions of the kingdom of God.  It’s big because discerning our call to both work and rest is counter-cultural.  Sabbath rest, the enjoyment of life for its own sake, doesn’t pay well.  It gets all the more complicated for folks for whom work doesn’t pay well either.

This is big because in order to talk honestly about time, resources, work, and rest, we must keep in mind the very big impersonal economic powers persistently imposing their will on us, for good or for ill, and the very personal spiritual gifts of gratitude and generosity re-shaping our will – to keep both of these in view at all times.

So what better way to survey the landscape than through a parable of Jesus that has been applied to both of these levels, from the earliest memory of the church....

Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Luke 2:21-40   

Speaker: Joel Miller  

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.


We needed 28 readers for that.  I’m guessing that’s a record for a scripture reading at Columbus Mennonite...

Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Timothy 4:12-16

Speaker: Mark Rupp

“We commit to: Learn from one another, allowing the wisdom of all ages to teach us”

A few weeks ago, on the Friday evening of our Peace Camp, I made a very exciting announcement.  I told the group that I had recently been elected mayor of the new town of Peaceburg.  Much like the similarly named Pittsburgh, Peaceburg was a city tri-sected by two rivers coming together to form a third river, leaving the city split into three large neighborhood sections. 

But, unlike most cities, my city, Peaceburg, was almost completely a blank slate with lots of resources and lots of room for new development in each of the three neighborhoods created by the rivers.  As the mayor, I needed help figuring out how to design my new city, what to put in it, where things should go, and, perhaps most importantly, how to do all this in a way that helped Peaceburg live up to its name and become a city where everyone could experience and practice peace. 

Lucky for me, I just happened to have access to a group of energetic young people who had just spent some time learning...