Menno Musings

Thought offerings from our Community

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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.

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Psalm 104

The Creator is renewing the face of the earth and this is good news! Because the earth is burning in flames. Sometimes quite literally with bullets flying across neighborhoods, wars ravaging nations, fires consuming forests, or quite simply with burning strife in our homes and families. The earth burns, so today how will we sing with the Psalmist: “Bless the Creator, O my soul”?

Creation is good, brothers and sisters, because the Creator is good! The Creator made it with such wisdom that only a poem or a prayer comes close to naming its glory. And right now, look around at each other and marvel.

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Why Not Be Completely Changed Into Fire?

Rooted in Amos 5:6-7, 10-15, Tim Reardon, preached on James James 1:22-27; 2:18-26. Tim begins with a story of the desert fathers — or better yet, “desert parents” — a dialogue between Abbot Lot and Abbot Joseph, his elder. The question ultimately posed by Abbot Joseph, “Why not be completely changed into fire?” is contrasted to the way Nicodemus might have heard Jesus’ directive, “you must be born again.” These are interesting, ridiculous, and meaningful sayings. Both imply that they need not just to do certain things, but to have something done to them — allowing something to be done to them by God. Yieldedness.

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Wisdom that Unifies

On September 23rd, Lauren Murtidjaja led us in a reflection on Mark 9:30-37, and James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a. James seems to be writing a “tough-love letter to the diaspora. The diaspora was dealing with partiality and favoritism — caught up in appearances. Most of us can relate at some level: we like to be seen in a certain light. How can their journey challenge us?

Their struggles can be traced back to wisdom. James asks: Who is wise and understanding among you? What are the marks of wisdom? In the bible, the goal of all wisdom is the formation of character — the relationship between hearing the Word and doing the Word. Hence, they are instructions for life.

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A Double Minded Gospel

On September 16th, Tim Reardon led a reflection on James 1:1-12 — emphasizing that justice cannot be seen as separate from the cross. James talks about a double minded person as one who wants to hear the gospel but not do it.

Tim reminds us that the cross is a revelation of injustice. The cross of Jesus, the innocent one, who was executed, who calls into question our social, economic and justice systems — calls into question all forms of injustice. It is a revelation of God’s solidarity with the poor and those disenfranchised, and a call to repentance for those who are powerful and unjust.

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