Pastor Stan is back! Today he began a 4-week series on covenant and membership. Thirty years ago the Mennonite church members asked each other, “do you have peace with God and man and desire to take Communion?” before every Communion service. If you couldn’t answer yes, Communion was withheld. It was a way to hold each other accountable for our actions before God and each other. As with many practices, it had potential for misuse, and it often was. Lots of Mennonites are recovering from the shame of heavy-handed discipline resulting from honest answers to these inquiries. With good reason, many churches (including James Street Mennonite) let this practice go. But we failed to replace it with something that was gentler and more contextual. We continued the concept of membership, but we have let go of old distinctive practices for members. We are NOT interested in bringing back the practices themselves. But we wonder . . . what does membership mean now? How do we note and celebrate belonging now? How do we call each other to commitment without heavy handed judgment? What can we learn from God’s initiation of covenant? God started the covenants as early as Abraham and Sarah’s time. God keeps offering covenant to us all!
Here’s Pastor Stan’s “The Love of God” sermon: