These words were offered by Tom Kauffman during an open mic time near the end of the Constituency Leaders Council meeting in North Newton, Kan., March 20 – 22, 2014. A news article gives further background on this meeting.
by Tom Kauffman
Over the years I have often felt the spring meeting of the Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) as an imposition on my experience of Lent. For me, it has seemed that the work of CLC (while certainly important) often overrules, imposes upon, or ignores the personal surrender and reflective contemplation of Lent. But this year’s agenda and the way we have approached it has seemed (for me) to coincide with both the spirit and the content of Lent.
We have come with a fair amount of disorientation and discomfort, a dis-ease that what is and has been unfolding before us is not what we had hoped or desired. On that we can agree. We may have widely divergent views on what would have made it different, as well as what will make it better. But on what is we can agree—this is not what we had envisioned, this acrimony and disquiet is not what we had hoped for or signed on to experience and embody. In that we are united—in our dis-ease with what is.
And we are grieving together, bound by our common disappointment. I am heartened by our mutual vulnerability, and our commitment to attempt to seek together a way forward. I believe we can only do that not because of a self-confidence in ourselves, but because of our mutual belief in the transformative power of the resurrection. That holy mystery of God, which has surprised us before, is available to us today, in the midst of our current situation. And that is good news indeed!
I have no pretense to know what that unfolding resurrection will look like for us as individuals, as congregations, conferences, or as Mennonite Church USA, but I have a confidence that God’s Spirit is ready to lead us into a resurrection future that is worth experiencing and investing in, one that invites us to join together to know a goodness of God that we cannot experience apart from God or each other. Praise be to God!