Do you recall the story of Jesus calming the seas, found in Mark 4:35-41? Jesus steps into a rough, but finely crafted, boat. The disciples watch Jesus as he stands in the stern facing the shore, telling the people about living lives consistent with God’s kingdom. Jesus teaches a long time. He needs a break. He instructs the disciples to pull up the sail, put the oars in the locks and head to “the other side”, a six-mile sail. The exhausted Jesus falls asleep as the disciples point the bow toward the other side of the lake. But “the other side” is Mark’s image of the unclean, the unknown – a place of discomfort. The people who live there are different from us. Boundaries keep us from going there. The boundary is the sea. The boundary is fear. Jesus doesn’t think the way his disciples do, nor does he share their fear of “the other side.” His net is cast far wider, his influence poured way beyond the confines of one boat. As Jesus sleeps, dark clouds accumulate. The wind picks up. Waves grow and pound the boat. The disciples struggle against the powerful wind and angry waves. Fear dominates their thoughts as they face the chaos of the sea. They cannot overcome that one boundary to peace. Jesus awakens. Standing in the stern of the boat, he commands, “Silence! Be still!” Mark writes, “The wind settled down and there was a great calm.” Jesus asks his disciples, “Why are you frightened? Don’t you have faith yet?” In the midst of storms when we recognize and deeply trust God’s ultimate authority and power, peace comes. With peace comes the realization that along with being in control, God gives us the grace to accept change and to move on, despite disappointment and fear.
Why do we observe Native American Sunday? God calls us to venture to “the other side”, break down boundaries and discover the richness that awaits us. God expects us to learn about – and learn from – people who aren’t exactly like we are. What makes Native people special? As Native Americans understand that no one owns the land, water, air and earth, neither can one people own God’s kingdom. Within the Body of Christ, every person, every culture has unique gifts to refresh the Church. The contributions of Native people, as individuals and groups are not more important than the contributions of other Christians. Native people, however, are among the poorest and most marginalized of society and also the Church. The unfortunate fact is that people without “power” of wealth or social status tend to be overlooked. This special Sunday is an opportunity for all of us to honor the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society.
Please join us this coming Sunday, April 19, 2015, as we are take up a special collection that will help Native American churches and will help send Native Americans to seminary so they can become pastors and church leaders and do good things for God.
– The above post has been adapted from a sermon by Duane M. Harris (March 8, 2011)
If you choose to donate to this Special Sunday offering today/online you can use this secure link to GCFA of The United Methodist Church .. https://donate.gcfa.org/FundDetails.aspx?ID=10000141000110002
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