A Moment for Mission
"Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread." — Luke 24:35, NRSV
"We're each single threads woven together in a tapestry God has created." — Francine Rivers
Today, we celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday. We celebrate another thread in the tapestry that we are woven into as the whole body of Christ.
We celebrate the many gifts and contributions of the Native American people that are among us as laypeople, clergy, district superintendents and board and agency employees. We celebrate the people that are reached through their churches and missions who need to hear, know and see the Good News. We celebrate the richness and depth of their culture and how they engage in worship through those unique lenses. We celebrate that we are in communion with one another as one body of Christ.
When we celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday, we are also celebrating an opportunity to give. Native American Ministries Sunday is one of our six churchwide Special Sunday offerings. The gifts that are received go toward nurturing and developing urban Native American ministries as well as providing scholarships for Native American seminarians. Among a population where poverty, teen suicide and illiteracy rates are high and high school graduation rates are low, bad news is easy to find. Our gifts toward Native American Ministries Sunday go to those who want to be equipped to tell the Good News of Jesus by attending seminary in places that need that hope.
Great Creator, we thank you for a tapestry that is woven together when your people gather. We pray that you would inspire us to give and to act in ways that invite all, including our Native American brothers and sisters. Move us to equip and send out those who will share the Good News of hope and abundant life. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Third Sunday of Easter (Native American Ministries Sunday, Special Offering) - Generous God, we would be lost without the gift of your living, enduring word in Scripture. You teach us the mystery that Jesus, your dear Son, who willingly gave his life to ransom us from death. Guide our hearts by your Spirit to set our hopes on you, not on perishable things like money. Accept these offerings in gratitude for all that you provide for us. Embolden our church to bring your word to enrich the lives of our neighbors. Through Christ, the source of new life, we pray. Amen. (1 Peter 1:17-23)
On Sunday, April 30, we will celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday. We celebrate the presence of Native Americans among us as members of one body and honor all the ways they have contributed to our church and our society. The United Methodist Church also has been on a journey toward healing in the long history of hurtful interactions between the church and the Native American people. Many are seeking ways to act that demonstrate repentance to move toward healing. These actions are initiated by Native and non-Native American United Methodist lay and clergy members who see the importance of this step toward a more unified church.
Whether it is celebrating the beauty of a richer experience in worship, bringing the Good News of Jesus in places that feel hopeless, or in the action of healing, we celebrate who we are together as the church. We, the church, also will collect a Special Sunday offering that will help to provide scholarships for Native American seminarians and to nurture Native American ministries.