Monday, June 18, 2012

The Inner Workings Of The Hutterite Team.

Everyone works as a team.
Everyone owns the team.
Everyone is the team.

The structure is familiar, with team presidents, coaches and players.

Every position is important. Sure, you have the captains and co-captains, but rookies and role players are every bit as important. Everyone has their specific duty and responsibility on the playing field. No one can win the game by themselves. They have to pass the puck. Total team effort guarantees success.

Personal gain and pride is forfeited for team gain and team pride. Each one of us makes the other stronger. All of us working towards the same goal makes the team stronger. If a member doesn't want to be a team player and doesn't share the same vision or goal, it creates chaos and makes the whole team weaker.

There are also rules. Dress codes. Equipment rules. Game rules and code of conduct. If these rules get broken, there are penalties. Minor infractions yield warnings, stern or otherwise. Major infractions hold more serious consequences. Gross misconduct leads to suspensions and/or demotions. If there is a repeat offender questions have to be asked. Does this player want to be part of the team? If not, they are welcome (and sometimes even encouraged) to leave and take time out to think things over. If at one point he/she wants to rejoin the team, fine, but then they must earnestly show that they can be a contributor again.

But all this team work and effort is in vain and pointless if there isn't a game plan and an end goal in mind. All players need to buy into and share the vision.

If the vision fades and is put on the back burner, the fruit follows. And it's all very visible to the spectators, who see dress codes fall, equipment rules erode and game plans fading and falling apart. The code of conduct gets violated. Team players are no longer team players. They begin looking outside the league for employment for personal gain or fame.

So what is this vision?
Earthly riches and gain?
Popularity and fame?

The earthly goal is to be sustainable. To keep the franchise healthy. This is a cradle to the grave system. The healthy and players in their prime contribute most, providing and caring for the young and old, the injured, disabled and retired.

But there is another and infinitely greater goal that these players strive and yearn for. A goal that provides the fire, will and energy for this sometimes grueling season, motivating each and every player is to put forward his best effort. This goal or crown and also the road there is best described by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Yes, by the Grace of God, through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ,  be accepted into His Heavenly Hall of Fame.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Account Of A Hutterite Wedding

Amanda and Jonathan's Wedding
by the father of the bride

Long before the June 10th wedding date, my wife Sarah and my daughters Amanda and Lillian are busy preparing for Amanda's upcoming wedding. Making  invitations, discussing whom to invite, designing a cake  and choosing wedding takes a lot more to prepare for a wedding then us menfolk realize.

  As time was getting closer I realized that in only a few short weeks Amanda will have left home. (Genesis 1: 24.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.)  

    It has been a stressful spring with exceptionally dry soil conditions, cool daytime temperatures and frost almost every night.  Now I was caught between dealing with whether we should even spray the crop, wondering if there would be more frost, reseeding decisions, concerned about the lack of pasture and buying hay for the dairy cows.

    There was so much on my mind. I felt like I was neglecting my darling daughter Amanda, and time was running faster than I could imagine. Our little girl had grown into a lady, and had chased her dreams which would now become a certainty.

    Three weeks before Amanda’s wedding on our regular Saturday evening singing, prayer and Bible discussion we realized that this would be our last Heiliger Abend (evening of worship) with Amanda at our home. We reminisced about the good times and the joy of growing as a family and how life goes on. Lead by myself  as the father of the house, we each took turns encouraging her to keep going this torch of family love and adoration, the unconditional Love for God , and not to ever lose sight of  her husband's and family's  salvation. We assured her that we were here if she ever needed us, and that we would love her forever. With a mix of happiness and a few tears, a prayer and many hugs we prepared for Amanda's new journey in life. Praise the Lord!

   The Sunday before the wedding, Amanda's husband-to-be Jonathan went to his Colony’s Minister to put forward his desire to marry Amanda, after which the Minister from that Colony gathered with all his colony's members to discuss and arrange the upcoming wedding celebration. After consulting with the members of his Colony and some counselling and well wishes, the wedding celebration officially begins.

   On Wednesday afternoon Jonathan, his father John and his favourite uncle arrived at our colony where all folks and children await with great excitement. I’m still busy tying loose ends to make sure all is organized until I finally concede that it's time to let go and join in on this moment of happiness.  

   After the blessing of our Church and members we moved to our home with only immediate family and a few invited aunts and uncles, where Jonathan (along with his Dad and uncle) asks for Amanda to be his wife. Lead by me, then followed by Sarah and Amanda's brothers and sister, Jonathan and Amanda are reminded that marriage in the Hutterite Church is a lifelong commitment . There will be good and bad days ahead, but with the help of God, and if they choose to serve Him, they will be blessed. After some counselling and words of advice and encouragement Amanda and Jonathan thanked and hugged all in attendance. With the blessing of God through prayers of hope, and the love of God through our Lord Jesus they take the first step to their new life, the celebration of their engagement begins by serving some refreshments and a light lunch.

   On the next day friends and invited guests were entertained to a fine supper of scrumptious baby back ribs, black tiger shrimp in oyster sauce, wonton soup and fruit salad in the colony kitchen. After supper we went back to our home and visited with family and friends till 8:30. We then gathered again in the kitchen for hulba  to fellowship, lunch and sing songs of spiritual guidance and praise to God. Around 12:30 AM we retired from the community hall as we would get up at 6:00 am and make our way to Amanda's future home at WillowRoad Colony.

   6:30 AM the next morning found me sitting in the rocking chair contemplating that this would be Amanda's last hour on the Colony, with a tear running down my face I sombrely thanked God for all that he has done for our family and I prayed that He would continue to guide Amanda's life. It was like the quiet after the storm from the previous night celebrations, sitting by myself with a refreshed mind and body, when Amanda appeared from her room. I could see that she was emotional, realizing these would be her final minutes in her father's home, she squeezed alongside me on the rocking chair. We both shed tears of good memories and joy, hugging each other.  I assured her that this was all part of God's plan, it was the way it had to be, and we both understood. We just sat there rocking and enjoyed the moment of just being by ourselves, knowing that we will love each other forever.

   Along with 40 members from our Colony we were on our way to WillowRoad Colony, a 4 hour drive. We arrived at noon, where we were met at the road leading to the colony by youngsters on horses; Jonathan and Amanda then rode the final mile with horse and carriage to her new home, where bride and groom along with our immediate family and friends were greeted by a mass of well wishers. After meeting Jonathan's family we had a lunch and visited, meeting old friends and making new ones.

   Saturday evening at 8:00 pm we again met in the kitchen for the main hulba, a celebration of singing hymns, a lunch and visiting that went until 11:00 pm. As one can imagine this is our fourth night and I’m getting played out. Amanda and Jonathan were bushed but they’re enjoying every minute of it.  

   Sunday morning at 9:30 am we proceeded to the Colony Church where Jonathan and Amanda were married. The wedding ceremony involves a sermon about marital commitment and the couple exchange vows binding themselves together until death parts them. The husband and wife agree not to drag each other into sin, or make trouble with the colony if they should fall from their faith. Hutterites marry for life, and do not allow divorce. Newlywed couples do not express marital bliss at the wedding ceremony with exuberation, but with an inner joy and peace knowing that they have dedicated themselves to one another and to God. They do not give rings, since jewellery is forbidden, and Hutterite brides always take their husband's last name.

   We now depart to the newly wedded couple's house where the marriage is celebrated with great jubilation and toasts from family and friends. We ask God to help them keep lit the torch of love that they now share in their hearts, so that by their loving example they may pass on the light of love to their children, and to their children's children forever. 
  A hearty meal of roast duck with shrimp and fine noodle soup, along with many other dishes is served at 1:00 pm. This celebration goes on until late in the afternoon when it is ended with a supper of pizza, and a final song that seals and closes the wedding celebrations of Jonathan and Amanda.

   A final Reading and a Marriage Prayer for Amanda and Jonathan, read by her father:

Greetings of love and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jonathan and Amanda; Congratulations on this special day and wishing God’s blessing to a new life. When we stop and think to appreciate all the good that God has done for us by sending His Son, and for all that confess and want to live His Holy way and purpose awaits a great joy. When we think of Him, who He is, what He did for us, and what He offers us we have to say, how can we do anything less than worship Him? Let us trust Him and praise Him. 
As one can imagine there is a lot of work that goes into a wedding, the help of the immediate family, the brothers, sisters, moms and dads and finally the blessings of the colony. It’s always nice to thank each other and to know that we are doing a good job; however we must give all praise and glory to God. Without Him we can do nothing.

 Heavenly father we ask you to bless Jonathan and Amanda's marriage, O God, as they begin their journey down the road of life together.

We don't know what lies ahead, for the road turns and bends.

But help them to make the best of whatever comes their way.

Help them to continue to enjoy each other, as they did when they first met.

Help them to realize that nothing, nor no one is perfect, and to look for the good in all things and all people including themselves.

Help them to respect each other's likes and dislikes, opinion and beliefs, 
hopes and dreams and fears even though they may not always understand them.

Help them to learn from each other and to help each other to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Help them to realize that no matter what happens to them, they will hold on to each other, and know that things have a way of working out for the good.

Help them to create for their children a peaceful, stable home of love as a foundation on which they can build their lives.

Life is such joy, all a part of God’s plan. When one-door closes, He opens another one. He always gives us strength for another day. To spend quality time with family and friends is something that all of us cherish. Today we’re strongly blessed by new family members and many new friends. In our prayers, please God bless Jonathan and Amanda, and all our friends with strength, good health and the Holy Spirit and to endure whatever is Your will.

Thank you and may God bless you all!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Hutterite Review Of "American Colony - Meet The Hutterites

 The message from the first episode and limited clips I've seen seems to be this;

   "Hi there World,  we are The Hutterites, a quaint and interesting folk.  We have a unique lifestyle with different customs, traditions, and foods. We have hurts and struggles just like anybody else,  but deep down our goals in life are to have a good time.  We are no angels and neither  do we proclaim to be. We lead our  life the way we do because that's  the way it's always been done.  We are Hutterites  because we always have been. We have a vague idea how we got here, and a vaguer one on where we are heading. We live in the 21st century now. Why should we be held accountable to the elders? Why should anyone tell us what we should and shouldn't  do?"

 Rebellion and disrespect seem to be at forefront in this series. Also very little respect is shown for the Third Commandment in Exodus 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

  Jesus commands his followers in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

  Well, this light is very dim, some would say extinguished in American Colony.

 The only positive I can find is that young Hutterites  who watch this series can see the fruit of a rebellious and disrespectful attitude, and treat these episodes as a wake up call and a testament of how far we have and can fall.

 And folks, Hutterite (communal) life without Jesus  Christ as the founder,  leader and centerpiece  of our faith  is not sustainable. It is as empty and  meaningless as a rusted out 5 gallon pail.

Featured Post

Another World.

Gazing at the stars tonight I feel a feeling start to grow An awesomeness, a hunger for something that I don't know I can feel it pull...