I’ve been thinking about forts and temporary structures this week. It’s mostly related to preparing for this sermon, but it’s also related to the events in the last week or so, in our world and in our conference. The news coming from Orlando has been disturbing on so many levels, the most obvious one being gun violence, but another related one is the safety—physical, emotional and spiritual safety—of our LGBTQ friends and loved ones. If the world isn’t a safe place for them, is the church? Is it a shelter they can count on? What do we do with a peace theology that says every human being as a creation of God has a right to life, and a theology of human sexuality that has kept some people from living out the full expression of their humanity? The tent we are currently in is an uncomfortable place to be.
I also carried the image of shelter with me to the IN-MI Mennonite Conference Annual Sessions, held this weekend in Elkhart at the seminary. Nehemiah 8:9-10 was one of the scriptures used in worship at IN-MI Mennonite Conference this weekend. The theme was “Restore our Joy/Restore Us, O God.” The times of worship, hearing stories from the congregations who call Elkhart home, and spending time at work around tables and in informal conversation, all of these provided a bit of a temporary shelter from the normal routine.
- Nehemiah 8:1 - 18