Lifted off my feet

Featured image: Overnight in London on 10 May broke up our hop across the pond. Besides a fine cup of tea (a lift in its own right, feet up in our hotel), we enjoyed a super-delicious Indian dinner. A couple from Spain at the table next to us chose the restaurant because of the tantalizing aromas coming out the open door. We all chose well.

MEANDER #2 Saturday 20 May 2017 More than the flight home from England lifted me off my feet this week.

How? Part of it came by walking into the sacred space of my church and in that place and among those people experiencing the now and the eternal.

What lifted me off my feet included encounters with friends and community after three months absence.

More specifically, it was every part of worship on our first Sunday home, 14 May: music, instrumental and sung; prayers; confession; Children’s Time story; sharing the Peace of Christ; the iris bouquet on the communion table; the Scripture reading in English and Spanish; and the sermon by Conference minister Dan Miller, The way is made by walking (As we walk alongside each other before God, the light of Jesus, our center, shines in divine deed, word and hope).

St Anta and All Saints church in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, provided a parallel encounter with people and the divine. We are grateful beneficiaries of both faith communities.

Remembering Alan Kreider

“The Kingdom of God is justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

On Tuesday, May 16, 350 people gathered at Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart for a service of worship and thanksgiving for the life of Alan Kreider, whose life at age 75 was cut short by multiple myeloma. He died at home on May 8.

“How does Alan’s death affect you?” one of our pastors asked me. I said I sense Alan’s presence more keenly in recalling his grounding in Scripture, his commitment to prayer, holiness, God’s involvement in the world through peacemaking, transformation, making all things new. I miss his explosive laughter, his robust singing, quiet greeting, ability to listen, mentoring example, avid walker, ready word of wisdom, blessing. That must be only the half of how his death affects me, to be further revealed in the days ahead.

In Journey Towards Holiness (Herald Press, 1987) Alan writes on God’s determination to restore the creation we humans have spoiled. “God is aiming at nothing less than a ‘new creation’ (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), a reconciliation of all things (not just all people) in Christ Jesus (Col. 1:20). Unimaginable things will happen! Wolves and lambs will live side by side. Infants and snakes will play together (Isa. 11:6-8). God is going to complete his creation, which was marred by human rebellion. God will make all things new. God will make everything whole” (p. 30).

Alan added a footnote to the above, related to two differing theological perspectives on the holy city. He asserted that the two differing points of view are compatible. “As Reformed philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff has written, the shalom which God intends for all aspects of his handiwork will be ‘the eschatological counterpart of creation’ (Until Justice and Peace Embrace [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983], p. 130).”

As he no doubt wrote in other people’s copies of The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, (Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2016) Alan generously shared, “To John and Marty, whose friendship has delighted us, and whose lives have taught us much, not least about patient ferment! With love in Christ, Alan.”

Part Two of the service on Tuesday included an English tea time and storytelling,

I said how through various interactions with Alan I always came away refreshed and satisfied, though I often wished for a second helping–whether that was another email paragraph, another 30 minutes of conversation, another anecdote in a sermon, another anything to prolong the gainful encounter. With Alan, each encounter, whatever the occasion, however long or brief, in person or in what he wrote, it was enough.

Alan’s communication was full of grace, satisfying, a blessing. Alan left us to be second, third, fourth and more extra helpings to each other. Alan would echo the sentiment often expressed by my mother after a meal: “I have had sufficient abundance.” God’s care and comfort to Ellie and the extended family.

To listen to or watch the memorial service you’ll find the link on the Prairie Street Mennonite Church website and also on the church’s Facebook page.

“Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, / and may perpetual light shine on them. / Thou, O God, are praised in Sion. . . .” These are the opening lines of Mozart’s Requiem. The Goshen Community Chorus and the Maple City Community Orchestra performed the Requiem on 13 May in Sauder Concert Hall at Goshen College Music Center.

The moving piece ends as it begins, “May eternal light shine on them, O Lord / with Thy saints forever, because / Thou art merciful. / Grant the dead eternal rest, O Lord, / and may perpetual light shine on them, / with Thy saints forever, / because Thou are merciful.”

Among the saints at Prairie Street church to whom we have said goodbye in the past year are Jean Bender, LaMar Fletcher, Ross Ringenberg, Margaret Lehman, and most recently Alan Kreider. God rest their souls and eternal light shine on all those whom we commemorate.

Photos from this week’s varied walks

Soil excavated from the site for the Elkhart health, medical, fitness, aquatic and community complex, a $65 million project. A glass factory once occupied the site.
Heavy equipment doing its thing for the health, aquatic, community complex.
Fifty-six sculptures by Seward Johnson are sited around Elkhart County, this one at the Elkhart Public Library.
A really patient, non-distracted, and probably hungry fish-seeking heron.
Sculpture at Beardsley House, Elkhart’s oldest house, open for tours. The sculptures are on view until October 20.
Morning sky on a day I got up earlier than usual.
Sculpture at Wellfield Botanical Garden.
One among many flowers all abloom at the Wellfield Botanical Garden.

All things new. Amen.



One thought on “Lifted off my feet

  1. Hey John!

    Love the blog… some amazing photos and stories — thanks for sharing! It was great as always seeing you and Marty over the weekend… hope to catch-up with you guys again soon — take care!


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