Our spiritual disciplines throughout Lent have guided us through fasting, holy doodling, honouring our water source, a technology free day, deep breathing, and planting seeds in hope. Now in the Easter season, we invite you into the practice of gratitude. In her poem, Three Gratitudes, Carrie Newcomer offers us a wonderful way of naming our thanksgiving and holding "what lightens and softens my life" before God. May we be "awash with wonder at the sweetness of it all."
Judith Friesen Epp
Between April 23 and May 14, over 50 people are participating in the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, a 600 km walk from Kitchener-Waterloo, ON to Ottawa.
The pilgrimage is sponsored by Mennonite Church Canada and the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Project of Christian Peacemaker Teams, and is guided by a Discernment Circle of Indigenous and settler leaders.
Its purpose is to
Among the Winnipeg walkers are Steve Heinrichs (Hope), Erin Froese (Hope), Kathleen Witt (Hope) and Henry Neufeld (Fort Garry).
You are invited to support the Pilgrimage by
Learn more about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Submitted by Esther Epp-Tiessen on behalf of the Indigenous Settler Working Group at Home Street
When I first learned to know my Dutch-Russian Mennonite wife, the next Easter season she introduced me to the ritual of planting seeds in a plate with sides and waiting for the green shoots to emerge by Easter. It required many Easter seasons for me to fully engage in that holy symbolism and apply it to the resurrection of our Lord. Judith had a head start because she grew up on a working farm.
Some Christians complain that the world of the Bible is technologically backward and, to that degree, not relevant to the twenty-first century. It is true that in North America the percentage of full-time farmers is shrinking. But if the complainer eats any form of plant food, then her/his life literally depend on the accurate placement of tiny seeds under soil, the right conditions for seeds to emerge and grow, and harvesting of the plant and seeds. The rhythm of obtaining seeds, planting them, and then harvesting both the seeds and the other parts of the plant—all under the right conditions—this is a pattern ordained by God in the created world. The complainer has plenty of “food for thought,” if only he/she would truly listen and see the miracle of growth and its spiritual counterpart.
We sense this pattern in the world that God created and see it replicated in the life of His Son.
Just as the Lord’s disciples probably doubted that the murder of their friend and leader would
lead to a hopeful renewal of their community, so the seed planter has no guarantee that the seed would ever emerge a living, moving green shoot. Just as the enemies of Jesus believed they had eliminated the Jesus community, the seed planter has no assurance that the seemingly-inert seed has, within its genetic identity, the pattern of its identity in full growth. And the return to life by the crucified Jesus Christ shows us Gods pattern of re-creation. Jesus Christ’s followers can rest in the promise that rebirth is a possibility. Both the human and divine participate in creating a new community composed of followers who have had a foretaste of the miracle of eternal life. Foretaste of a miracle partially learned from a plateful of buried, then growing seeds.