Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.I Thessalonians 5: 11
As we continue our MennoExpressions theme of Running the Race this year, we also recognize the importance of those who encourage and cheer for the racers. Weary souls may be energized when inspired by a friendly face or a shout of “You can do it!” In this year of emerging from our collective pandemic isolation, the comfort of gathering, singing, working and eating together seems especially reassuring. We hope the collected articles console and brighten as we move forward in our daily life treks.
We start with reflections from Pastor Monica Miller who has been sidelined by the hurdle of long COVID. We rejoice that she is improving, and celebrated recently with Pie Sunday, giving thanks for healing and her one-year anniversary as pastor at FMC.
The Hood family collaborated to write On Loss and Living. They openly share their continuing pain and grief from the loss of their son and brother Scott, while also moving forward and treasuring ways to celebrate life and the importance of being together with family and friends.
We also grieve the unexpected passing of long-time member John Boyce, and include several reflections that highlight just a bit of the influence he had on family, friends and even strangers. Several poems seem especially appropriate to consider for encouragement in light of these losses and others experienced in our church families.
Be sure to explore the overview of the work trip taken by the MYF, and then no doubt smile when you read the responses of our youngest elementary students sharing their favorite things. Several aspirations for super powers are especially unique!
If you have wondered about the epic task of compiling and introducing a new hymnal for the broader Mennonite and Anabaptist churches, Jana Miller shares the winding path, as well as her personal joy and inspiration in the process of “drawing the circle wider.”
Another saga of training and persistence in the running group is shared by Joe Longenecker as he highlights the transition from indifference to enjoyment, camaraderie and success as he has completed his first mini marathon.
If creating paintings seems beyond your reach, consider the encouraging saga that Laurel Gerbrandt shares. A passionate artist herself, Laurel decided to lead aspiring groups who wanted to pick up paint brushes and try creating their own art. Lovely paintings and caring friendships are the happy result!
Finally, we continue Milestones, our recurring feature to share news and important life events.
As the year draws to a close, sometimes the seasons overlap, leaving the exuberant red leaves of autumn unexpectedly covered with a blanket of snow before we are prepared for cold winter days. Perhaps untimely events may suddenly force us to adjust plans and look at new options.
But whatever the weather—or the situation—let’s give thanks for the warm, encouraging presence of family and friends, and the promise that the Lord will be with us as we run or walk the race set before us.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;Proverbs 4:12
when you run, you will not stumble.
About the author
A beautiful fall season included a family trip to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, where we walked the paths carefully and gazed in awe at the vast, colorful scenes unfolding at each curve of the trail.
It hardly seems possible that the holiday season is fast approaching—along with winter! Warmest wishes for the New Year to all of the readers of MennoExpressions!