​During final worship at MennoCon 21 on Saturday, July 10, Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, raced across stage in a lighted cape to symbolize transformation --- setting the dove (symbol of peace) free to fly high into God's future. Photo by Mennonite Church USA. 

By Laurie Oswald Robinson
Sunday, July 11, 2021

When our foster daughter, Symphony, was in our care for two and a half years, I often said this to her during the tumultuous twos: "Symphony, we pick and choose how we are going to do handle things." 

To my shock, one day as I was melting down from a bad hair moment, she said, "Mommy, you know we choose and pick."

Well, I didn't know whether to laugh because she switched around the words, or cry because she had hit the nail on the head: 

I could choose my attitude, and pick a new way to be.

So, too, Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, in his convention finale message, called us out: we can choose to let our dove, the symbol that graces our Anabaptist documents, fly free into a Holy-Spirit led future; or, we can let that dove roost on past practices and present struggles.

He boldly proclaimed my favorite line of convention messages: "Our documents won't save us, they really won't. What will save us is a renewed focus on the lordship of Jesus Christ" and the modeling his sacrificial love toward one another. 

We can choose to roost; or, we can pick a new attitude that leads to a new way of being the healing and hope of Christ in God. 

We can roost or we can choose to embrace Jesus who is enough and big enough to free our souls that tend to clutch control and power, hold onto unhealed wounds, and hide idolatries of unbroken sin patterns. 

We can be paralyzed or pick a new mode of movement: to launch off our agenda-laden and earthbound stages into the skies of our call to live out peace, justice and reconciliation within the infinity of God's grace.

As Glen flew across the stage in a lighted cape, I didn't know whether I should laugh, or cry. In that whimsical, wacky, and wonderful moment, our brother in Christ was modeling what it means to pick and choose Jesus above ourselves: to embrace Jesus as the eternal source of our freedom and our flight, rather than fickle illusions that risking change brings disaster.

His serious sermonizing taking flight into the playful unexpected symbolized, for me, that there is something much more dangerous than choosing transformation: choosing to chain the dove rather than to fly free, and high.

 

 

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​Laurie Oswald Robinson is editor for Mennonite Mission Network.

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