Mystery in Rocks and Web

This post is about the struggles of an octogenarian who worships the unknown and is troubled by his ignorance of  the knowable.

Slate

Slate

On Sunday Morning it is my custom to attend the worship service at College Mennonite Church.  This past Sunday we celebrated “All Saints Day” and by ritual, prayer, song and sermon we remembered the lives of the twenty-four persons who left us sometime in the past twelve months. We called them “saints.” While I enjoyed the service, I still had some discomforting thoughts.

The discomfort arose from my care of those with whom I regularly join in Borderlands after worship.  I think of them as my brothers and sisters.  Many of them are driven by a need for scientific data. They doubt the existence of God, creation, and life after death.  I wondered if they at the end of their days would want to be remembered and portrayed as one of the saints above on all saints day?

Picture of web formed by spider and wind in the outside corner of the window at Door 6

Web formed by spider and wind at Door 6

So while chatting over coffee before the signal to convene, I asked one whom I knew to be an unbeliever what he thought of the service on all saints day.  I like it, he said.  It is my favorite service. It is so warm, how could one not like it?

Within the broad tent of faith at College Mennonite Church we all find a place to befriend others who have little faith, ask many questions and live good lives.  As I cross and recross the boundary between sincere worship and desire to know, perhaps I am developing a new way of looking at things that combines science and theology.  Dare I coin a word and describe it as sci-tho’-log-y?   That is, the more I think I might know, the more I stand in awe of the mystery of scithology.

IMG_2269I carry two small stones in my pocket.  One is a piece of slate formed of silt layered and hardened by the weight of an ocean. I found it among the river rock used as mulch outside door 6 where I sit and wait for rides.

The other stone is a bit of granite thought to be formed by great heat, pummeled into a round shape by multiple encounters with river gravel.  I found it outside the red barn on the Hoover farm.

How great the mysteries wrapped in the stones I carry in my pocket. How, when, where and why?  

Not having great faith,

Many hard questions are asked.

Gain peace, not knowing.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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6 Responses to Mystery in Rocks and Web

  1. Tanya Lehman says:

    Martin, say more! Continue with this sci-thological musing. I would like to hear more of your crossings between worship and desire to know.

  2. Carl Metzler says:

    Martin, my professional career was as an applied mathematician in pharmaceutical research. In that endeavor I was “driven by a need for scientific data.” But I always knew that in many areas outside my professional life scientific data was irrelevant. As I struggle with the mystery of God, the following advice from Richard Rohr’s “A Lever and a Place to Stand” is helpful: “cultivate (1) a strong tolerance for ambiguity, (2) an ability to allow, forgive and contain a certain degree of anxiety and (3) a willingness to not know and not even need to know.” Especially “a willingness … not even need to know”. Is this helpful? Carl Metzler

  3. Raymond Martin says:

    Getting into very real stuff here. Not being a scientist, I got along for a long time on what Carl Keener told us in biology class: “the bible tells us Who and science tells us how.” Now I read Rohr’s meditations and he integrates science and theology in a way that I find satisfying even though I cannot get very deeply into the science. Sometimes I search the web to get a bit of the science. I like what Carl Metzler reports.
    Thanks Martin for defining Borderlands. I probably missed that earlier.

  4. Merle Cordell says:

    Yesterday morning I conducted the grave side services for our bishop brother Mahlon Eshleman. He chose the familiar passage of II Cor. 5: 1-6. He was well honored as a saintly leader in our Franklin Conference. I wish you could have been with us.

    • Merle: Yesterday morning I was with the informal group of about thirty retired churchman of a variety of callings who have adopted the name SamHedrin after a founder, Sam Yoder. I thought of the graveside service and mentioned Mahlon to the group. I wish I could have been there. We are going one by one.

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