Easter guide follows success of Advent devotional
by Sarah Bergen of MBBS and Connie Faber
Faculty, staff and students of MB Biblical Seminary in Fresno, Calif., have written an Easter devotional guide, Walking in the Light, which is available on the seminary website.
“A project like this serves the church, and that’s what we’re here for,” says MBBS acting president Lynn Jost. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response to our advent devotional, and we’re pleased to find this way to serve the church.”
The 40-day devotional guide primarily follows lectionary texts for the season from the Gospel of John; texts from other Gospels and the prophets have also been used. The writing has been arranged around the theme of walking, a traditional Anabaptist metaphor for discipleship and one that indicates following Jesus. Light is a common image used in the Gospel of John to refer to Jesus.
“We hope this devotional guide helps people follow Jesus and be immersed in the Word of God as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter,” says Jost, who developed the theme for the Lenten devotional.
MBBS distributed 3,500 copies of an Advent devotional written by seminary personnel to alumni, pastors and supporters of the seminary. Positive feedback prompted the seminary to offer something similar for Lent to the broader North American Mennonite Brethren community.
“This is a project with a quick turnaround,” says Mark Isaac, MBBS director of advancement. “We began just before Christmas and so we did not have the time or the resources to print and mail the devotional guide. We’ve really worked hard to put it together and share it as widely as possible.
“A devotional guide on the Web can potentially reach every Mennonite Brethren home and beyond—and we hope it will—whereas a limited number of homes can be reached in a print/mailed version,” says Isaac.
Faculty from all three MBBS campuses—Fresno, Abbotsford, BC and Winnipeg, Man.—were the primary authors. “As a biblical seminary, a project like this allows us to spend time with the Word and share our work with others,” says Jost.
Several MBBS staff and some seminary students also contributed. Malinda Nikkel, former MBBS board member, retired Tabor College English professor and experienced lay Bible teacher, served as the proofreader.
“These writings reveal the life and character of our seminary community members,” says Jost, noting the contributions of three faculty members to illustrate the unique contributions of the various authors.
Jost describes Mark Baker as a missionary and evangelist whose heart for leading people to Jesus is evident in his contributions to the Easter devotional guide. Pierre Gilbert is described by Jost as a faculty member who seeks hard after the word of truth in the Bible and in the stories of God’s people. Tim Geddert, says Jost, is a biblical scholar who seeks to make living with and in the Word a practical part of daily life.
“Each day’s reading lets you see a bit of what we care about and what we are interested in,” says Jost.
The Easter devotional guide is a gift from MBBS to its supporting conferences, say seminary staff. “As part of our mission of ‘inspiring and equipping’ people for service and leadership in the church and the world, we seek to empower and enhance the ministry of pastors and people in Mennonite Brethren churches,” says Isaac. “We see this devotional guide as one way we can offer that.”
Walking in the Light can be read each day online or printed from the Portable Document Format (PDF). The seminary is also offering to send the Easter devotional guide via a daily e-mail. Interested individuals can contact MBBS at email@example.com or 1-800-251-6227 to request e-mail delivery.
A printer-friendly version will be sent to churches, and MBBS is asking for the help of church staff in distributing the devotional to church members who are without a computer or who ask for it in printed form.