The Spirit of the Church

May 18, 2021

Good afternoon,
the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, said to me in the house of the Lord in the presence of the priests and all the people: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. ”        Jeremiah 28:1-2

These are the words of Jeremiah
, in conversation with the prophet Hananiah . Hananiah says Babylon will be taken down, while Jeremiah says that that is a false prophecy. They have to wait and see for history to unfold. They both speak for God.

Anabaptists and Mennonites started in the 1500’s or 16th century. They began after the Lutheran Reformation in the 1510’s. Many of their early leaders were ex-leaders within the Catholic Church. The reasons they broke away from the Church were adult baptism, allegiance to the state and non-violence in terms of serving in the military. For these reasons they were often hiding and worshipping secretly. When found, they were put on trial, and often executed.

These Anabaptists were prolific writers. They wrote tracts about their faith. They put together Bible reading lessons. Their interpretations were not literal. They believed that the meaning of the biblical texts needed to be interpreted by the Spirit of God. They believed that they were in touch with the Spirit. Maybe this is why they wrote so much. They wanted to share the Spirit’s wisdom with the rest of the world. This kind of interpretation got them in trouble with the Church, because the Church leaned toward the traditional interpretation, with creeds and theology.

In today’s Anabaptist/Mennonite world this is similar. Most change comes from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. Someone reads or sees something new, and shares it with one person, then one church and then one conference. Then there is pressure to institute that change.  

This is a dangerous, but necessary way of going about being the church. It is messy when you have four different ideas about issues like marriage, wealth, politics or vaccines. And all persons might feel they are speaking from the Spirit of the Living God.  But, we are the church.
Grace and peace, 

Soaring like Vultures

lifted up by unseen Hands

Trust, silent enters my fears     Monica Pieper Landoni 2021