Those words from 1 Samuel 7:12 came to me as we were listening to the young people singing from the church conference. A word of explanation is needed here, the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite holds a general conference about every seven to ten years. The 2022 conference is underway now at Tupelo, Mississippi … Continue reading Hitherto hath the LORD helped us
Amos Herr (1816-1897) lived on a Lancaster county, Pennsylvania farm that had been in the Herr family since 1710 when his ancestors fist arrived from Europe. In addition to being a farmer, he was a minister of the local Mennonite congregation. One wintry Sunday morning about 150 years ago, he awoke to a raging blizzard … Continue reading I Owe the Lord a Morning Song
My mother's father was a member of the Sommerfelder Mennonite Church, one of those groups that seeks to protect its members from the evils of the surrounding world by maintaining a different language. Grandpa was already hemmed in by his visual impairment, perhaps that led him to take more interest in the people he met. … Continue reading Balm in Gilead
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis It surely does seem that God is shouting at us right now. But what is … Continue reading Change and decay in all around I see
I was reading articles about the history of church pews and it seems most writers feel that pews became important at the time of the Reformation. In Roman Catholic worship the focus was on the communion and provisions for congregational seating were not of major importance. With the Reformation, the focus switched to the sermon … Continue reading Worship styles – what is essential?
I think the old missionary hymns leave many of us feeling a little uneasy. Those references to carrying the gospel to every dark land – was there a deliberate inference that lands where white people dwell are more enlightened and the lands where darker skinned people dwell are in spiritual darkness? I fear that idea … Continue reading Missionary hymns
Then was sixty years ago when I was a teenager and member of the Anglican Church of Canada. Services would begin with this exhortation: Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face … Continue reading Worship then and now
Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes; O whence for me shall my salvation come, from whence arise? From God, the Lord, doth come my certain aid, From God, the Lord, who heav’n and earth hath made. He will not suffer that thy foot be moved: Safe shalt thou be. No … Continue reading Unto the hills around
My mother wasn't able to look after herself anymore and had come to live with us. One day a conversation with a visitor went like this: —How old are you? —What year is it? —Two thousand and four —Then I am ninety-six. That was my mother; she couldn't remember how old she was, but she … Continue reading Dementia
At 10 a.m. last Sunday morning half of our congregation was seated in the pews. The song leader rose, walked to the mike and announced the first song. Then he stood there patiently as the other half of the congregation walked in and were shown to their seats. (We don't use musical instruments in our … Continue reading Problem or blessing?