"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." — John 10:10, NRSV
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a diverse and growing group of people here in the United States. The scope of cultures represented among this group is broad, as it includes people with origins in the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands; each of these geographic areas contain similarities as well as their own unique cultural characteristics. With all this diversity, there is much to celebrate.
As we honor our Asian American and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters, we are recognizing the contributions they have made in our society. Their contributions include art, technology, music, education, influences in our cuisine, and even building the foundation for progress in the United States with the work of Chinese immigrants on the Transcontinental Railroad.
Not only have our Asian American and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters made life better and richer in the United States, but also they have enriched the quality of life in The United Methodist Church, sharing with us their cultural values of strong family relationships and a communal approach to living. This way of life together reminds us of Jesus' call to living an abundant life. It's a life made better when we believe in God's provision for us, and that how we care for one another is a part of God's provision.
Great Provider, we give you thanks for our Asian American and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters. We thank you for all the ways they share with us out of the richness of their culture. Grant us all a spirit of generosity as we remember that your provision is always enough for our needs and of those in need. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fourth Sunday of Easter – Dear Lord, our God, you guide us as a loving shepherd. In your presence, our spirits are renewed. In your wisdom, we discover peace. In fellowship together, we find ways to share your good news with others. As we enjoy your blessings, help us to give from our abundance with glad and generous hearts. We dedicate these tithes and offerings in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his flock. Amen. (Psalm 23; Acts 2:42-47)
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time when we honor the history and contributions of members of this fastest-growing population in the United States. This is a diverse group of people with origins in the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.
As we celebrate the gifts of being in community with these brothers and sisters, we also must acknowledge some difficult moments in our history, including Japanese internment camps during World War II, the difficult working conditions for Chinese laborers instrumental in completing the Transcontinental Railroad, and the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy.
Even though our history was not always kind to our Asian and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters, it did not stop them from contributing to the arts, technology and education. In The United Methodist Church, we have an opportunity for a richer experience of worship and life as the people of God when we celebrate the voices of our Asian American and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters among us.