Stubborn love

God’s love, grace are more powerful than factions

Jul 20, 2015 by

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With all the talk of the transformational power of walking the Emmaus road and breaking bread together, it felt jarring to come home from the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City with the taste of ideological chasms seeming as wide as ever.

This isn’t how Luke said talking together would go. But we are a stubborn people with a persistent God.

A body famous for preaching reconciliation spent a week stubbornly debating with itself. On a lighter note, it met in a city famous for barbecue that stubbornly seemed to have none within a lunch­time walk of its convention center. But Scripture tells us love is possible to find, just as ribs and burnt ends can be found in Kansas City, even if we can’t see or smell it right now in our immediate vicinity.

“God’s weakness is stronger than our strength,” said David Augsburger at the close of worship July 2. He was referring to the foolishness of the cross and how God’s perfect, stubborn love is so much more powerful than the stubbornness of factions within MC USA.

“Heaven is a community,” said author Alan Hirsch in a July 3 presentation. “It’s hard for Americans to individualistically think about that.”

It might be even harder to think about spending eternity strumming a heavenly harp next to that person who was just so narrow-minded or biblically lax at convention. But God’s grace — God’s persistence — is greater than our own.

In an adult worship service July 3, Dale Schrag suggested the way forward is for everyone, on both sides of divisive issues, to hold their beliefs in an open hand rather than a closed fist: “That might change, ever so slightly, our ability to hold each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.”

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