Migration, biblical and modern

September 6, 2013

Tammy Alexander reflects on immigration reform challenges in the latest Mennonite World Review.

As we think about what immigration policy in the U.S. should look like, let us reflect on stories of migration in the Bible — Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, Ruth — and remember God’s admonition that we treat the stranger among us with compassion and fairness. As God instructed the Israelites to love the stranger (Lev. 19:33-34), so, too, should we remember our own family stories of migration.

Read the entire article here.


Lectionary reflection May 19, 2013 (Pentecost)

May 9, 2013
Melissa Engle/MCC

Melissa Engle/MCC

Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach reflects on the lectionary passages for Pentecost and the pouring out of the Spirit today.

In what ways is the Spirit being poured out today? If we have eyes to see and faith to believe, we will see the Spirit working in many ways. As a start we might look for instances where barriers are being broken down and where there are spontaneous celebrations of thanksgiving for God’s gifts to us.

Read the entire reflection here.


Prayer for the Korean peninsula

May 3, 2013

God who knows all history,
hear our prayer;
For an identity shaped by the shame of occupation,
hear our prayer;
For a land still cringing from the rape of a war waged more than six decades ago,
hear our prayer;
For bodies that toiled to rebuild and recover,
hear our prayer;
For the painful separation of sisters and brothers,
hear our prayer;
For stubborn governments unable to hear one another and negotiate,
hear our prayer;
For those that deny responsibility,
hear our prayer;
For an entire world that continues to provoke and live with hate,
hear our prayer;
For the voices that call for and take steps towards peace and reconciliation;
hear our prayer.
Grant us your church a renewed vision;
hear our prayer.

by Kathi Suderman, MCC Representative for North East Asia

Continue reading context for prayer: Read the rest of this entry »


A Worship Resource – Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia

March 28, 2013

This week, MCC released worship resources for churches participating in Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia to use on Sunday, April 28.  Participant churches will organize their worship service around this theme of this year’s Days of Prayer and Action, “Now is the time for peace with justice in Colombia.” The packet includes: summaries of the main issues facing Colombia and its peace process; songs for peace in Colombia; prayers and poems; readings; and reflections from MCC staff in Colombia.

Michael. Photo by Anna Vogt.

Michael. Photo by Anna Vogt.

In its first few pages, the packet presents four issues as the context for this year’s reflection and advocacy. They are: unresolved armed conflict, land restitution and reparations, conflicting approaches to economic development, and internal displacement. Despite enormous challenges in each of these areas, “there are countless signs of hope.”

The songs, prayers, and poems all reflect a passionate desire for peace, an end to injustice, and a petition for continuing strength in the face of hardship. They thank God for being a source of strength: a prayer from the Mennonite Church of Rincon del Lago in Soacha, Colombia reads, “You fill my soul with strength in the midst of my suffering. You have always been there showing your love and unconditional support.”

Colombian churches are also asking God for healing: “Hear our crying and have mercy on us,” writes Adaia Bernal.

The reflections from those in Colombia are infused with words of hope, patience, reconciliation, and justice. They urge Christians to be engaged in the work of shalom by building justice in broken parts of the world. For Christians, this is not an option; this is an occupation.

In her reflection, Sandra Baez of Torre Fuerte Mennonite Brethren Church in Bogota quotes Miroslav Volf:  “Being the church means being for others, with others, especially the neediest. The ministries of justice and reconciliation are not additions that flow out of the church, but are constitutive of ecclesial life in union with Christ.” As the Church, our hearts should break when we hear our Colombian brothers and sisters cry to God for justice and weep for their family. Their stories – some of them collected in this worship packet – should move us to action on their behalf as we draw from a Christian tradition of unswervingly pursuing justice.

Read the reflections of those on the ground, hear the words of Colombian believers, and be inspired by words of hope amidst terrible injustice, download the worship packet and sign up to participate in the Days of Prayer and Action.


Easter Sunday lectionary reflection

March 20, 2013
Melissa Engle/MCC

Melissa Engle/MCC

Vanessa Hershberger reflects on the lectionary passages for Easter Sunday.

In this week’s Gospel text, John 20:1-18, we read the story of Mary discovering Jesus in the garden after finding an empty tomb. At first, she does not recognize Jesus, mistaking him for the gardener. Her grief and distress prevents her from seeing him for who he really is. Like Mary, sometimes we don’t recognize what is right before our eyes either, the good news that is starring us in the face. Whatever is going on in our lives prevents us from allowing Jesus to transform us, to start something new, to truly believe that “his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118: 1) It is not until Jesus speaks her name that she understands just who this is standing before her.

Read the entire reflection here.


Lectionary Reflection, March 3, 2013

February 22, 2013
Melissa Engle/MCC

Melissa Engle/MCC

Paul Heidebrecht, of the Ottawa office reflects on the lectionary passages for March 3.

At first glance, this week’s biblical texts provide encouragement for this kind of personal quest. The prophet Isaiah invites us to “seek the Lord while he may be found” and “call upon him while he is near” (55:6). The Psalmist addresses God with the words: “my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (63:1). And the Gospel of Luke includes the parable of the barren fig tree, which is introduced with Jesus’ repeated urging that “unless you repent, you will all perish” (13:3 and 5).

Read the entire reflection here.


Lectionary reflection February 24, 2013 (Second Sunday of Lent)

February 13, 2013
Melissa Engle/MCC

Melissa Engle/MCC

Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach reflects on the lectionary passages for the second Sunday of Lent.

Again and again, Jesus says, he longed to gather Jerusalem’s children “as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,” echoing the parental care expressed by Yahweh throughout the Hebrew scriptures (see, for example, Deuteronomy 32:10-11). God loves steadfastly and offers opportunities to repent and follow the path that leads to life. But God also allows the choice to follow or not to follow.

Read the entire reflection here.


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