Swinging Chandeliers

It was Easter Sunday and we were gustily singing resurrection hymns at our afternoon Vespers service. “Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes … Hallelujah, Christ arose.” Caught up in the moment I said, “The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us (Rom. 8:11)!” “I serve a risen Savior … he lives within my heart!”

And the chandeliers above us began rhythmically swinging back and forth. The residents looked up and were amazed at this display of the power of God among us. They still speak about this awesome Easter experience demonstrating God’s presence.

Earthquakes, whether physical, economic, spiritual or emotional are a part of our lives in this changing world. Navigating in a Sea of Change: What a timely theme for the 2010 Mennonite Health Assembly. Together with the Mennonite health community Mennonite Chaplains gathered for input and discussion around the impact of change on our lives and work.

We joined in workshops including Case Studies in Care Giving with Bob Shreiner and Anita Rediger; Helping Families Navigate the Passage of Death with Kenton Derstine, and Understanding Dementia with Denton Hartman. We met for Morning Prayers with  Donna Shenk; and traveled by bus to Mennowood Retirement Community where we were hosted by Frank Ferguson. Chaplains reconnected, networked and were inspired and refreshed. We ate together, laughed together, worshipped and did business together. And some of us golfed.

What better way is there to navigate through change than in community. Keynote speaker Leonard Sweet challenged us with the statement that in 20-30 years we won’t be able to trust anything we see, only what we can touch. It will need to be “Epic” – experiential, participatory, image-rich, and connective. All that and more happens at Mennonite Health Assembly.

Until we meet again in San Antonio in 2011, may the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, be the swinger of our chandeliers and the wind in our sails as we navigate through the waters of change.

Cheryl Paulovich
MCA President