Today was the last day of Mennonite World Conference. It has been an excellent experience for the staff to have together. I have been struck by the sense of community and emphasis on unity. Certainly I have never been at a conference before that felt so global. The variety of cultures and languages represented gives a taste of what heaven will be like. That is a beautiful thing.
The highlight for me has been the music. (No surprise there, I am sure!) The musicians were incredibly talented. The worship team for the week was comprised of people from a variety of countries including Indonesia, Spain, Germany, India, Mexico, Angola, and USA. Many kinds of instruments were used as well: sax, flute, piano, accordion, guitar, violin, various kinds of drums and percussion, as well as a large string ensemble yesterday. The worship services were planned by our own Don McNiven from Westheights. I’m in awe of the organizational challenge that these services represented.
I was reminded as well that Mennonites love to sing! I loved hearing the unity of 7000 believers singing together.
This has been a trip of community on a personal level as well. Instead of staying at a hotel, we were billeted by my parents and my brother and his wife. I ran into people I’ve known through the church community in the past, as well as my uncle and someone I graduated with from Messiah College. It was a fun week of seeing familiar faces unexpectedly.
Each day the focus of the worship services has been centered on a different part of the world. Today the focus was on North America. The speaker was none other than Bruxy Cavey from The Meeting House in Oakville. He spoke about the fact that when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he couldn’t limit it to just one. We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength AND to love others as we love ourselves. In fact, we love God through loving other people. This is how we follow Jesus. Loving God is not just an individual relationship that we have with God. We work this out in the love we show to others. As Bruxy said, love is making “the choice to relate to someone else as valuable”. It isn’t just avoiding doing bad to others. It is actively doing the good.
I’ve been grateful to be here. It has grown my understanding of being a part of the worldwide community of Jesus followers in the world.
On a lighter note, we took a few hours this afternoon to check out some things in Hershey, PA. This is where Milton Hershey started his chocolate company. There is a new museum that tells the story of his vision, company, and legacy. On the theme of actively doing good for others, the Milton Hershey story is inspiring. Obviously he was a brilliant businessman, but I was mostly struck by the investment he made in the lives of his employees and disadvantaged children. This is the significant legacy that he left with his life.
If you are in Hershey PA, how can you not do the free Chocolate World tour? Here we all are in the Chocolate World lobby. I think we all managed to get through the large gift and candy shop without buying anything!
See you all next Sunday!