Sunday, July 20, 2008

Opening the Circle

Donald Durnbaugh recounted a delightful Annual Conference anecdote in his book, Fruit of the Vine (p. 554). A new Brethren was experiencing his first Annual Conference. As he and others were milling about, a friendly soul walked up, looked at his name tag, and commented: "Why, Garcia is not a Brethren name." To which the new member responded: "It is now."

Another story indicates how the Brethren circle is opening in other directions. The moment of truth comes from a young girl whose mother was a pastor of a Church of the Brethren. One Sunday the two of them attended a service in a neighboring congregation, where the sermon was delivered by a male pastor. The girl sat silently through the service and then turned to her mother with a puzzled look and asked, "Mommy, can men be pastors too?"

In the final analysis, it is not ours to decide whether to open the circle. Christ has opened the circle through his death and resurrection, welcoming all who seek life to enter the circle and find it. The only question is whether we can keep faith with an open Christ.

Source: Let Our Joys Be Known - A Brethren heritage curriculum for adults