Tag Archives: Mennonite

Mennonites, farmers and Sunday night popcorn

On Sunday, my friend, Becky, who just happens to be married to my cousin, Gary, made the comment on Facebook that they were having popcorn for supper. She and Gary both grew up having popcorn for Sunday supper, sometimes accompanied by cheese and veggies.

That comment set off a slew of responses from other friends who also grew up having popcorn for Sunday night supper. Most of us still do. Coincidentally, all of those responded are (a) Mennonite, (b) grew up in the Midwest, (c) have farming roots, and (d) grew up having huge Sunday dinners.

Looking back, maybe the popcorn tradition grew out of sheer exhaustion on our mothers’ parts. They’d cooked for the family all week and by Sunday night, were ready for a night off.

So we discussed this a little bit more, and discovered that several of our families also deemed Sunday supper the one meal where we could eat wherever we wanted. Becky’s family often watched tv on their little black and white that probably got all of three stations. My family — the last in town to get a tv because my dad insisted on waiting until his boss — the college president — got one, played games or read.

Becky says she asked Gary where he thought this originated. He had two explanations: 1) that we were all members of the same cult, and 2) that “it started with the farmers, on the Sundays when the horses weren’t working they gave them a high fiber diet of bran. They figured if it was good enough for the horses it was good enough for the family, and so they used popcorn as the high fiber diet!”

Here’s the thing. There’s a slight hole in that theory. Gary and I share the same grandparents. Our moms are sisters. They come from a long line of “teasers” and I know for a fact that Gary has inherited that tendency. But hey, the horse idea is a good one.

When my husband and I married, I suggested we continue the popcorn routine. I suspect he never was crazy about it, because often he would bake cornbread. But our girls loved the idea, especially the option of eating wherever they wanted to.

And so…we carry on…popcorn, cheese, veggies, fruit and a good book. And for Fred, some cornbread with maple syrup. What better way to end the weekend?

Annointing service intended to bring restoration of wholeness and health

Last week, my cousin, Doug, mentioned that his family had had an announting service for his older brother, who is struggling with some health issues. He suggested that I might find this comforting. Our church periodically has had annointing (healing) services for members who are ill, but also for those who are entering into some leadership position. However, those are usually done during or after a church service, with an entire congregation taking part.

I’m a little leery of feeling so “exposed” in front of a large group of people, so knew that wouldn’t work for me. So I talked with our associate pastor, Louise Wideman, about having a private annointing service with just family members, and in one of my favorite places — at the edge of a local quarry, which is no longer a working quarry, but has for years been filled with water. There is a path that leads to the water’s edge, where the village placed large square rocks, perfect for sitting on. It’s the place I go often during a walk or run, to sit and think about whatever I’m facing.

The timing was perfect, because two of my brothers and one sister-in-law were in town, so they were able to attend, along with my mom, my aunt, my husband, Louise and me. Oh. Right. And about a million cicadas. All voicing their opinions throughout the entire service. In fact, my husband taped it on the Flip, but the cicadas drowned out most of the human conversation. I figure that was just nature taking part.

In the days leading up to the service, Louise and I had a few conversations, during which she explained the history of announting services. This may help others understand.

*Biblically, anointing was used in the Old Testament for several reasons – leaders were anointed for their special roles; a person was anointed for comfort (Psalm 23:5); anointing oil was used in the cleansing ritual for lepers; and objects in the tabernacle were anointed for use in worship.   In the New Testament, Jesus had a ministry of healing people and James 5 includes instructions for anointing the sick with oil.

“In our Mennonite history, anointing services in the past have been very private and often with persons who are extremely ill.  Today however, several congregations offer anointing at the end or during a worship service in the context of the congregation for any variety of reasons – physical or emotional health and well being, commissioning for leadership and spiritual renewal.

 “We know there is a connection between the mind, body, and spirit – so that when a person is anointed, we are considering the whole person.   Anointing with oil for healing is a means of God’s grace and blessing intended to bring restoration of wholeness and health.”

Prior to the service, Louise asked me to reflect on my illness, my ongoing anxieties and fears relating to it, as well as my hopes for the upcoming weeks. This kind of thing is very hard for me to do openly. Somehow I managed to put down a few thoughts — mostly, I think, because I’d spent the week with some pretty indepth conversations with my brothers and of course, my husband. One thing I mentioned is that I recently asked my aunt for some advice on prayer. I’ve always been so awed by her very thoughtful prayers. They remind me of my grandfather’s — he was a pastor. Her very simple response eased my own thoughts about praying for personal things.

We began the service at 7 p.m., just as a fishing boat crossed the water. I think they sensed something private because they immediately moved to the far side of the lake. We began with my brother and SIL singing “Amazing Grace”, followed by Louise’s explanation of the annointing service, some scriptures, prayer, a song by Louise, my own statement. There was a brief “laying on of hands” and the others were invited to say something.

It was a brief, but meaningful service. For me — a very private person when it comes to faith — this was a new experience. All day today I’ve thought about it. I don’t feel greatly changed, but I do feel comforted. My anxiety is slowly easing, and I hope that over the next few weeks as I reflect on this, I’ll continue to relax and better focus on recovering with a more positive attitude.