Menno Musings

Thought offerings from our Community

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Nonresistance is Not Enough

Engaging with the reading of Matthew 5:38-48, Tim Reardon tackled the topic of peace. The Christian peace tradition was Tim’s draw to the Mennonite denomination during the build-up to the second Iraq war.
This is peace not relegated to our hearts while taking up arms against enemies, nor as an ideal or demand or a work or a law, nor peace a feeling — but peace as a way of being. This peace cannot be grasped or owned, but something sought after, and which by God’s grace seeks after us. It is inhabited with and for others. For Tim, this became a non-negotiable in his faith walk.

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What Motivates Us to be Missional?

Bekah Estrada asks, “What does it mean to be missional?” She describes this as a wholistic understanding of what missions is. It’s about participating in the kingdom of God — about acting out our faith. And talking about faith is just one small part of this.
Based in Luke 2:25-38, with Simeon and Anna in the temple recognizing Jesus as the Christ, and Luke 10:38-42, with Mary and Martha tending to Jesus — Bekah asks us as a church what motivates us to missional? And on Mother’s Day, Bekah looks primarily to the scriptural testimonies of women.

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On Being the Potter AND the Clay

Accompanied by slides and a demonstration on a potter’s wheel, Al Dueck spoke to us on April 7th from Jeremiah 18:1-5 and Isaiah 64:1-2. His reflections follow.

I would like this morning to reflect on two ways of being Christian. To a certain extent they reflect the difference between these two representations: photographic and impressionistic. There is a tension in the texts between the potter and the clay and two ways of creating pottery.

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Seeing, Believing, and Understanding

On Easter morning, reflecting on Isaiah 65:17-25 and John 20:1-18, Sam Bills spoke to us about the resurrection story. Early in the morning, Mary approaches the tomb where Jesus had been laid with ointments to tend to the body. She suspects foul play when she sees the stone blocking the entrance has been moved aside — and runs back for reinforcements. Peter and John hurry back to the tomb with her.
John sees the burial wrappings on the ground — Peter enters the tomb. Peter sees the cloth that had covered Jesus’ face set to the side. John joins him. Yet they do not understand.
But they remember Jesus’ words about the temple of his body being raised — and put together with the situation in the tomb, they believe. This is a quick transition from seeing to believing. But having believed, they return home. Have they grasped what is happening?

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Embodied Forgiveness

On April 14, Palm Sunday, Tim Reardon spoke about the Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Luke 19:28-44, and his words from the cross in Luke 23:32-46. The celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is tinged by coming of the cross, and the willingness of those who had celebrated to now condemn him.
Emmanuel, God with us. God surrounds us, has tabernacled among us, has become flesh, and has taken up space with us in Jesus so that our bodies might be formed into God’s body. We are forgiven, released. God has come to bring peace and justness. God has come not to condemn the world but to draw the world into an embrace of new life.

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Hagar’s Story

On March 24, Lauren Murtidjaja addressed Genesis 16, and referenced Genesis 21 — to talk about the story of Hagar. Hagar’s story is sandwiched in between God promising Abram a child despite his old age. In the midst of the stories of Abram and Sarai, Hagar’s story seems to be forgotten. If she is remembered, it is generally in the context of a too-human moment of taking things into our own hands rather than trusting God. Is Hagar just an innocent bystander who happened to get roped into Abram and Sarai’s moment of faithlessness? Was she simply a means to an end, forgotten once Isaac comes into the picture? The feminist biblical scholar, Phyllis Trible, calls this a “text of terror.” And it is. It’s one of the many biblical stories we don’t know what to do with. So what do we do with these stories? And what do we do with Hagar?

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An Exodus People?

On March 17, our Poet of the King, Tim Reardon, revisited the Exodus through Exodus 13:2-10 and Luke 9:51-56. Our interaction with Sarah Augustine and learning about the Doctrine of Discovery have offered a rereading of these passages. We in Pasadena meet in land originally inhabited by the Tongva people. And so what does it mean to be an Exodus people?

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Resisting Fear: The Story of Guled Omar

On March 10th, we heard from Matt Palombo, with recordings from Guled Omar. Matt Palombo has been working in Minneapolis on mass incarceration and the war on terror. He is a philosophy professor at Minneapolis College, where there is a large Muslim Somali refugee population. Many of his students are part of this Somali community. The scripture reading for the morning was Psalm 27. The psalmist is in a place of fear, surrounded by hate and violence. The reading was chosen by Guled Omar, who relates to this surrounding — serving a 35-year sentence for terrorist-related charges in Ft. Levensworth, Kansas. Guled was taped reading the psalm on a phone call, which was played for us to begin the sermon.

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Wed. Mar. 13: Vigil in Support of ICWA

This Wednesday, on land formerly inhabited by the Tongva nation, we will be gathering at Full Circle Thrift for prayer for the Indian Child Welfare Act, an important piece of civil rights legislation that attempts to provide indigenous people with some protection from what has been centuries of cultural genocide. Pasadena Mennonite Church is responding to a call from our indigenous sisters and brothers and in an attempt to act on our commitment to work toward the dismantling of the Doctrine of Discovery.

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The Transfiguration

On March 3rd, Transfiguration Sunday, Tim Reardon spoke of the transfiguation of Jesus as a transition point in Jesus’ ministry. Previously, Jesus had been moving about Galilee speaking about a kingdom, now he tells his disciples he must go to Jerusalem to proclaim this kingdom, and there he will suffer, be rejected by the leaders of his people, and then be killed, rising on the third day.
We often read this metaphorically. What burdens am I carrying that somehow I can call my cross? Yet, Jesus’s cross is not metaphorical. At this point in the narrative, Jesus calls them to literally join him. What would you say? What is it to pick up your cross?

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