That they May be Completely One


A scene from Homer, Alaska

In Goshen, and most everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, nature is springing to life. Even Homer, Alaska, reports popping crocus, and a booming honey bee business.  Flowers everywhere attract pollinators to carry pollen to waiting plant ovaries. Seeds as numerous as the sand on the seashore are a product of evolution and/or creation.  Flowers make spring beautiful, and observers of this year’s pollen count describe it as as a tsunami afflicting people with allergies.

As the the carpenter’s son walked the countryside, he observed primitive farm practices of his day. The method of broadcasting seed allowed some seeds to fall among weeds and be choked out, allowed other seeds to fall on shallow soil and whither and die, allowed other seed to fall on the bare road and be devoured  by birds.

Other seeds fell on good soil and produced a harvest, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. And Jesus concluded, Let anyone with ears* listen!’


Scott Hochstetter & Garrison Keillor

The pastor of College Mennonite Church is leading a series of sermons on the parables of Jesus.  A parable, he said, is a teaching tool that allows hearers to ponder its meaning on their own.  So I suppose it is legitimate for me to wonder why  good seed falling on good soil  produces varied-fold harvests?   This reminds me of the visit of Garrison Keilor to Goshen College.

From the platform of Sauder Hall Keillor lauded Mennonites for our history of being steadfast when persecuted  and our musical accomplishments.   Rachel and Eldon were in the audience and they reported that Keillor obviously enjoyed the Goshen College chamber choir and the audiences participation, and said that we are known worldwide, in spite of our schisms.

IMG_1599I have a hunch that we lack 100 fold reproduction because of the many schisms in the church.  Jesus prayed that those who  believe on him might be completely one so that the world would believe that God had sent him.

In recent days the College Mennonite Church community has lost three giant witnesses:  Lawrence Greaser, (93) Director of missions in Puerto Rico and  South America and recognized for his flexibilty; Millard Lind,  (96)  teacher of Hebrew and Hebrew culture; and Joel Kauffmann (65).  His life seemed too short, yet he authored Pontius Puddle, several screen plays, and was the developer of Nazareth Village, Menno Hof, and the Museum of the Bible as his current project.


Green Pontius in his Puddle drawn by Kauffmanns pen.

I don’t know who wrote the comments on the back of the program folder for Kauffman, but it reveals us to be like-minded in some ways.  Kauffmann “thought we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously to counter the pollution of conflicts in the church that harmed each other and our witness of God to the world.”  (Emphasis mine.)

How might the harvest from the ministry of these three men and the Christian church be increased if divisions healed  and the church were completely one as Jesus prayed?


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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2 Responses to That they May be Completely One

  1. Well done. The men of whom you speak, had two qualities that would stand the church in good stead, humility and flexibility. Another problem we Mennos have is that we are spending enormous amount of resources squabbling, while we as a body are basically saying little to the suffering world (by way of written declarations) about the evil of our military drone strikes. I am very aware of the good MCC, MDS, MEDA and other Mennonite-related organizations are doing, and I laud their Herculean efforts, but in our MCUSA organization, our efforts are being expended on matters that will seem trivial in 50 years.

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