Menno Musings

Thought offerings from our Community

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Star of Wonder

Eddie Beres shared an Epiphany reflection at PMC on January 6th—in relation to Matthew 2:1-12, and primarily Ephesians 3:1-12. He begins his thoughts, “As I read through the lectionary passages for this year’s Epiphany, the one from Ephesians caught me. I noticed one word repeated four times: mystery.
Eddie goes on to say that the word mystery stood out to him because it is central to healthy religion, and our inability to embrace it is the source of most conflict in our world. In our dominant culture, the word is likely to generate notions of questions that we must find answers to, or detective stories that will be solved through detailed analysis and clever thinking. In other words, our common response to mystery is to eliminate it, for mystery cannot exist if we have removed all questions or paradoxes.
Yet the power of mystery is alive in the teachings of Jesus, and alive in our world today, continuing its transformative ways.

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Christmas

Christmas Sunday for PMC was on December 30. Tim shared about a Mennonite community that strove for simplicity — so as not to burden others with material goods. He contrasted that approach to his memories of complex Christmas celebrations of his youth.
Tim goes on to talk about why simplicity is best practiced as a community endeavor, and the history of this within Mennonite churches.
Simplicity can also be thought of in relation to non-conformity — an attempt to unravel the bonds by which the world has us tied up — in order to be free to live together and for others … for love of neighbor, God, and creation with our whole selves.

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Joining Mary’s Joy

On our fourth Sunday of Advent, traditionally the theme of love is celebrated. Melissa Spolar reminds us that we celebrate a love defined by mercy, justice and peace. The final voice to declare the truth of what is finally coming — the birth that would fulfill years of promise — was that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Melissa talks about Mary’s bravery in incredible circumstances, her dedication to God, her words that would become an inspiration to many, and her eagerness and devotion to helping usher in the world changing kingdom of Jesus. These are things we can celebrate and learn from.

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Advent Joy

On our third Sunday in Advent, Tim addresses the traditional theme of joy in through the lens of Luke 3:7-18 — where John the Baptist teaches the crowds who have come out to the desert to learn how to prepare for the imminent coming of the Messiah. With humor, Tim contrasts his visit with his family to the Magic Kingdom’s Christmas celebration to John’s message of repentance — with John’s call for the people to bear fruit.

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A Community Refined

On the first Sunday of Advent, Lisa Thornton reflected on Malachi 3:1-6. She talks about how we often think of advent as a time of waiting — forgetting that as we wait we are asked to prepare for the coming of the Lord — cleansing, refining, purifying. With Malachi, we look at the gospel of Luke 3:2-6, where John John the Baptist proclaims from Isaiah, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth…’”
Lisa calls us to hear these passages from a community perspective. What is required for us as a community of people to prepare for the Lord? Not just our own church community, but as a community of followers of Christ across the world. John seems to be saying that the world needs to be the opposite of what it is now — a Beloved Community.

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Simplifying the Complexity of Simplicity

Eric Schnitger welcomes our advent season with reflections on simplicity. We’d begun this topic at our fall retreat, and Eric offers thoughts about how simplicity ties in with the advent theme of hope.

Eric opens with a beautiful quote by Michael Kofi, about how advent speaks about the future reign of Christ, when all will be made right, and how we can live in eager anticipation of that good news now; that justice for the poor and oppressed and mercy for all is what we hope for — and if not, then we need to break our hopes and form new ones; the promise that God will act to bring the reign of peace, even when we have lost the capacity to believe it.

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Apocalyptic Resistance

Steven Chun brings us thoughts on Daniel 7:1-28. Chapter 7 follows many stories we’re familiar with — Daniel’s fasting, the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo, Daniel in the lion’s den — but then suddenly the language changes to apocalyptic liturature. Like poetry — we can get lost in the specifics and miss out on what it’s trying to convey. As a subversive literature, it can come as an invitation to see history from the perspective of the oppressed — those who must cling to hope.

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Eating with the Crucified King

Tim offers us a close look at the Emmaus Road story — which culminates in the breaking of bread in a meal — and an invitation to reflect on: what keeps us from seeing Jesus? what Jesus are we seeing? why does Jesus appear in the breaking of bread?

The passage opens with two disciples walking away from Jerusalem toward Emmaus. These two have been loyal to Jesus, followed in his ministry, and marched to Jerusalem as Jesus declared a new kingdom — ultimately leading to his execution. They’ve put all their hope in Jesus, Messiah — yet now are marching away from those hopes. They’re disappointed, and talking about it.

The disciples do not know about the resurrection — though they’ve been told. They begin telling a stranger (Jesus) about the prophet they thought would deliver them — yet fail to see the Jesus in front of them.

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Youth Sunday

A few times a year, the youth of Pasadena Mennonite Church take the reins and plan and lead the Sunday service, from the Welcome and Announcements through Worship in word and song. Here are shared two snippets of the service on November 11th: sermons by Liza Platonov titled “Fear Itself,” and by Jadyn Tipton titled “The God that says I Can and the Voice that says I Can’t.” The youth group together chose the theme of fear, and the scripture passages Phillipians 4: 4-7 and 2 Timothy 1:7-12.

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The Book of Revelation’s Revelation to PMC

With its psychedelic visions and violence, the Book of Revelation doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the New Testament. Despite all the oddness, revelation pops up all over within our culture. It’s been used and abused. It’s usually grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted — though we owe it to ourselves to not simply ignore it. But it can also be one of the most interesting, theologically profound and spiritually fulfilling parts of scripture. It can be one of the most important texts in scripture for helping the church to understand theologically the current situation in America.

Contact Info

Pasadena Mennonite Church
Meeting at Pasadena Church of the Brethren
1041 North Altadena Drive
Pasadena CA 91107

Sunday Services begin with fellowship at 10:00am —
Worship begins at 10:30am