Prairie View

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Sunday Wrap Up--November 1, 2020

This morning, two days before the 2020 presidential election, I read Luke 1.  In the words of Gabriel and Mary I found assurance for this conflictive time.  

For some reason, I find confident predictions of who will win the presidency extremely bothersome, especially when offered by Joe Blow without convincing or even supporting evidence.  I'm thinking "you've got to be kidding.  I'm supposed to believe you, just because you have the audacity to claim certainty about this."  

Maybe my husband's preferences are rubbing off on me.  He hates to guess or estimate or conjecture or prognosticate.  I think it's because he has an engineer's brain, where exact data is critical. Also, I suppose the English-as-a-second-language thing figures in.  He really doesn't "get" rhetorical questions, and often offers a quick "I don't know" rather than to extend the rumination  by offering further input.  He's definitely not guessing the outcome of the election, and neither am I.  


" . . . no word from God shall ever fail,"  Gabriel told Mary.  She answered by saying, I am the Lord's servant.  May your word to me be fulfilled."*  This short passage is a reminder that God keeps his promises.  In light of that, whole-hearted submission to and trust in God makes sense.  

I had never before thought of the Magnificat in the context of a tumultuous time such as the present, so I was surprised with how well Mary's words offered the assurance I craved.  I probably should not have been surprised, now that I remember how shocking was the reality that Mary had to adjust to. In shock value, no possible election outcome holds a candle to this.  

Mary's song doesn't supply me with the name of a potential winner in the upcoming election, but it reassures me that remembering who God is and what he has done is the right thing to do.  I especially like how Mary knows with certainty that God lifts up the humble, fills the hungry, brings down the proud, and sends away the rich, empty.  It describes an evening of the score that I long for today.  Mary knew, and I know that this comes about through a Savior, not a political figure. 

Here are excerpts of what Mary said:

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant . . . the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him . . . He has performed mighty deeds . . . he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts, He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant . . . remembering to be merciful . . . just as he promised . . . "


Something astonishing happened near the end of our church service this morning when a stranger got up to speak during the time when audience members were invited to do so.  He didn't tell us his name, and I don't know if anyone there knew it, although I'm sure that those who talked to him afterward know more now than I do.  In short, he told us he was there because his wife wanted him to come.  He did so in an effort to save his marriage.  He is apparently in his eighties.  His wife has had some good interactions with people from "Center Amish Church," and she promised that she would put on her "covering and her long clothes" again and come with him if he found this church for them to worship with (today, however, she was at a family event and couldn't come).  He attended "old Yoder Mennonite" when he was a child, and was converted there at the age of 10 or 11.  Since 1957 he has worked as a pastor in many different places, during which time he sometimes attended a "Beachy" church.  His wife at some point apparently had practices similar to ours.  So much mystery and too many credible details to dismiss it all as confused ramblings!


Jana, the church member who has worked as a doctor in a clinic in El Salvador for most of her professional life, faces a lot of uncertainty about her future, and the future of the clinic in El Salvador.    She is reaching retirement age, and so far, no one has been found to replace her.  She left her work abruptly earlier this year when the country went into lockdown, with plans at that time to return and reopen the clinic till it could be turned over to someone else.  Now that prospect is in limbo.  A clinic advisory board will meet this week to try to find a path forward.  


Several times recently I have heard criticism of our ministers, by members--specific to general, and mild to severe.  I'm still trying to process this.   My first inclination is to counter the criticism.  I don't share in feeling general dissatisfaction with what I hear in sermons or observe in character or leadership style.  The ministers are good people, doing their best.  I especially appreciate how they've led out during the pandemic, and wish there were more united support for their leadership. 

I do want to listen respectfully to what others are feeling.  Doing that while maintaining my own integrity is what I desire.  


Here's a short Facebook post I shared this afternoon:

Shared with Public
Prayer offered today in church for Donald Trump and for Joe Biden: "Help him to see you, and to see himself in light of who you are."
I loved it. It's an appropriate petition for us to pray for each other and for ourselves as well.


*New International Version


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