A Moment for Mission
"Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
– John 20:21, NRSV
Twenty-two percent of the more than 5 million Native Americans in the United States continue to live on reservations in some of the most desolate and difficult regions. They have little access to jobs or economic opportunity. Their poor living conditions have been compared to the poverty in the inner city or even developing countries.
Native Americans are statistically more likely to die from heart disease, diabetes or tuberculosis than members of other U.S. demographic groups are. When surviving is this difficult, hope is hard to find.
Our children are the future, as the saying goes. Even while U.S. graduation rates rise for many racial ethnic groups, those for Native American students continue to lag behind. Education is not the only barrier toward a better future, Native American youth also have the highest rate of suicide and self-harm than any group in the United States. When our children struggle to thrive, hope is hard to come by.
The United Methodist Church recognizes our call to stand with our Native American brothers and sisters. Next Sunday – the third Sunday of Easter – we will celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday, one of our six churchwide special offerings. Gifts will support ministries among Native Americans as well as seminary education for Native Americans.
Living, giving and working together, the church can bring the hope and light of Christ to places where hope is scarce.
Creator of life and author of hope, we come before you today on behalf of our Native American brothers and sisters. We pray for your light to offer hope to all of your precious children. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday of Easter - O God of our Salvation, we rejoice in your amazing deeds! By the resurrection of your Son Jesus, you have opened the gate to eternal life. We are grateful for your gifts of forgiveness and a new start. Let the obedience of Christ, the Righteous One, become the chief cornerstone of our lives. Help us to use our spiritual gifts and monetary blessings for your glory. We dedicate ourselves and our offerings through Christ, our risen Lord. Amen. (Psalm 118; Acts 5:27-32)
"I think over again my small adventures, my fears and those small ones that seemed so big, for all the vital things I had to get and reach; yet, there is only one great thing, the only thing, to live to see the great day that dawns and the light that fills the world." This Inuit song is a voice of hope and awe of God's great gift of life. Such hope is difficult to hold onto, given the living conditions of many Native Americans today.
On April 10, we will celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday. As a part of that day, we will share a special offering. The funds collected on this date will go toward ministries among Native Americans. The offering funds urban ministries with Native Americans, scholarships for Native Americans attending United Methodist seminaries and annual conference Native American ministries. We, as the United Methodist Church, have an opportunity to stand with – and learn from – our Native American brothers and sisters and share the hope of Christ.