People are often confused as to what a Mennonite is so I thought I would briefly give you a bit of history.
The term Mennonite comes from Menno Simons who was a catholic priest in 1536 in the Netherlands. During and even before the priesthood, he never read the Bible. When he started getting questions about the bread and wine at the Lord’s supper, he went into deep study of the Bible. Shortly after he heard about the Anabaptists, his brother being one of them and he started studying infant baptism. He believed it to be wrong and so he left the Catholic Church, was baptized again and became a minister. The followers of Menno Simons were called Mennonites.
Some of the things they believed in were (and still are):
- voluntary adult baptism
- No swearing of oaths
- No violence/ pacifists
- Separation from state/and the world
- Communion for believers
- Shunning or excommunication for believers who were unrepentant of their sins
The Mennonites were greatly persecuted at that time by the Catholic Church. Mennonites, Hutterites and Amish all come from the same original Anabaptist group. Jacob Hutter (Hutterites), Menno Simons (Mennonites) and Jacob Ammen (Amish).
The main reason for the split of these groups was because they couldn’t agree on how strictly the church should enforce the rules of the church.
Further down the line, due to persecution, they migrated to the Ukraine, Prussia, Russia and some other countries. Some immigrated to North America already at this time. (My family lineage comes from Russia.) When persecution started there, they migrated to Canada. With time the state wouldn’t allow the Mennonites to have their own private schools, so some of them picked up and moved to Mexico. Some stayed in the U.S.A and some stayed here in Canada. The term Mexican Mennonite is somewhat incorrect for all of us because we originate from all different parts of the world. Many have never even been to Mexico. My great grandparents were born in Saskatchewan.
So that is some basic history. In the future I plan to share a bit more about our culture and maybe go into a bit of a deeper explanation of the difference between Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites.
Some good books on the topic of the persecution during Menno’s time or just about Mennonites and Menno Simons in general are:
Not Regina by Christmas Carol Kauffman (Fiction)
Menno Simons: His Life, Labours and Teachings
The Mennonites: A Brief History of Their Origin and Later Development in Both Europe and America
I want to start this off my stating: I AM NOT IN WAY SAYING THAT ANY OF YOU SHOULD GO AGAINST THE TEACHINGS OF YOUR CHURCH BY WHAT I SAY ALONE. IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THE CELEBRATING OF THESE HOLIDAYS OR DO NOT UNDERSTAND FULLY WHY, THEN PLEASE SPEAK TO A PASTOR OR DEACON AT YOUR CHURCH. Also this is the third installment in my “THE MENNONITE HOLIDAYS” series. Check out the other two here and here.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump right into it. I feel like this might be a bit of a touchy topic but this is something I strongly believe and came to the conclusion of by reading God’s word on the subject. I’ll start of with a verse found in Romans Chapter 14 verses 1-13.
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his mind. Romans 14:5
What does this verse say to you?
The way I understand it is this; people are not all going to feel convicted to hold these holidays. Some may feel convicted to celebrate just one day, while others three. Some maybe even a week or a month! And you know what? Every single one of these people are right!! We just have to be fully convinced that what we are doing is what is God’s will. You can glorify God in church or in a tractor. Whichever one you feel convicted to do. But now don’t take what I say the wrong way, you must be fully convinced. By God! Not just because your boss told you to work or because your grandma said to keep the day holy. You also shouldn’t be working if you are doing it for greed and money reasons. Do it to glorify God! Oh, and don’t think I’m letting you holiday holders off easy either. IF YOU ARE SITTING AROUND GOSSIPING, or DRINKING or PARTYING YOU ARE ALSO NOT GLORIFYING GOD!! You would actually be better off at work because then you wouldn’t be also be defiling yourself by sinning against God on a day you are claiming is your right because you are a follower of Jesus Christ (yes, that is what a Mennonite is supposed to be!)….. “Mennonite Holidays”, the Lord’s Holy Days whatever you call it are meant to be kept sacred and holy. So please do so or just leave them be altogether. And if someone doesn’t celebrate them, you have no right to judge them. They are a christian liberty. Not a command. Whatever you do, do it for the Lord. So in other words to answer the question: Must everyone keep them?
No, only if you feel convicted and convinced that it is God’s will.
If you still aren’t convinced, again please read Romans 14:1-13 and it should clarify it pretty well. May God bless you.
Hey everybody! This is post #2 on Mennonite Holidays. My earlier post on the subject is titled “Mennonite Holidays: Is there such a thing?“. If you haven’t already, please go check it out. Today I will be explaining the meanings behind the different holy days. But first I have a few things to say. I will continue to use the term “Mennonite holidays” throughout this post, even though I believe the term to be incorrect (again check out previous post on the topic) because it is just the easiest way of explaining it to everyone reading. I will also be working on my first free printable! Yay!! So if you haven’t already, please subscribe to my email for future subscriber goodies and updates. My first printable will be based on this article and will be a handy little sheet to hand over to your employers, so that they know the full reasons behind your Mennonite holiday. Lord willing, I should finish it soon. So until then keep checking your inbox.
Ok, enough chit-chat! Here we go! I will start at he beginning.
- Heilige Drei Konige also know as Holy Three Kings or Epiphany always falls on the 6th of January. This day is held to celebrate the time when the three magi (Holy Three Kings) came to Jesus to show their adoration and to recognize Him as King of kings. Matthew 2:1-2
- Stille Frietag or Good Friday is held in respect of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. It falls on the Friday before Easter Sunday.
- Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His defeat of death and Satan. Although the exact reason behind the three Easter holidays is unclear, many Mennonite churches ask that we keep all three holy. One explanation that I have heard is that we hold a day for the Fatherhood, a day for the Son-hood and a day for the Holy Spirit. The three in one.
- Himmelfahrt/Ascension Day is held to respect the day Jesus ascended back into heaven. It is celebrated on a Thursday forty days after Easter. Acts 1:3
- Pinjsten or Pentecost is held to commemorate the sending of the Holy Spirit as was promised by Christ. It falls 50 days after Easter or 10 days after Ascension Day. In most churches, baptism is held on this day. Pentecost is also celebrated for three days for the same reasons I believe as Easter. Acts 2:1-31
That concludes the main “Mennonite Holidays”. We do also celebrate some of the mainstream holidays like New Year’s and Thanksgiving. Although thanksgiving is traditionally just held on a Sunday. And of course we celebrate Christmas! What would be the point of all these other holidays if we didn’t even celebrate Christ’s birth?! 🙂 But other than that I think that is pretty much it….. If you have any questions or concerns or if you feel more could be added or that maybe something is incorrect, anything really, feel free to chat me up below in the comments or through email @ email@example.com!
Wasn’t today absolutely gorgeous? It sure was in southern Alberta anyway. Felt like summer already. As I was sitting on the patio this morning doing my morning devotions, I looked over my schedule and noticed it’s Ascension Day this week Thursday. And it got me thinking about Mennonite Holidays…
So I decided that in these next few days, I’m was going to touch on a touchy subject. Hmm..“Mennonite Holidays…..” Where do I begin?? Well let’s start with this, there is no such thing as a Mennonite holiday.
There is no such thing as a Mennonite Holiday!
“Gasp” What do you mean there is no such thing? What about all those days where we take off work and all the non-Mennonites don’t?
All “Mennonite Holidays” are just days that we hold holy because an important event of Christianity happened sometime near or during that day when Jesus walked the earth. For example, this Thursday is Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day*). The day Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand. Therefore in all reality this holiday is for anyone who believes in Christ and is a Christian. So to all those people who hold this holiday, you can’t really say to your boss that it’s a “Mennonite holiday.” It just isn’t. It is a day that any believer can choose to hold holy. Another thing I want to talk about is that, unfortunately many Mennonites only take these holidays off because it gives them an excuse not to work. Or because it’s tradition. Many of them actually have no idea what the day is actually even about. so instead of keeping the day holy, like God intended, they take the day off, to slack off, party, and sin against God. To me personally, the only way you should be taking the day off, is if you know what the day is for and you believe it. AND IF YOU ARE ACTUALLY KEEPING IT HOLY! Or else it just becomes a really good excuse for a long weekend. That doesn’t seem right to me and I don’t believe it’s right in God’s eyes either. And quite often, it doesn’t seem right in the eyes of those who don’t believe or just don’t hold this day holy. It causes bitterness and resentment, because they can see it is being misused. So next time someone asks you why you are taking a day off, please don’t say it’s a Mennonite holiday. Study God’s word and dig deeper into what this day is all about, so that you can actually have a valid reason for your boss, co-worker or curious friend.
That’s just my two pieces on it anyway…..Stay in tune for more posts these next few days on “Mennonite Holidays” (Including a post with the definitions and reasons behind all so called “Mennonite Holidays”
the fortieth day after Easter, on which Christ’s Ascension is celebrated in the Christian Church. Also called Holy Thursday