Moment for Mission
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.” — Isaiah 12:4
Research has determined that the way we understand and interpret life depends on our own mother tongue. Our language informs our culture and our identity. While this may seem like a potential barrier to proclaiming the Good News to the nations, it is an opportunity to provide an even wider lens through which we are able to experience a much richer picture of God.
When we think in terms of other languages, we might think about global missions or those who recently migrated to this country. However, there are an estimated 250 native languages in North America among our Native American population. Along with each language are a people with a culture, an identity and a way of understanding and experiencing God.
The Rev. Roger Scott beautifully captured this when he wrote the “Native American Creed.” The poem opens with, “I believe in God, Creator of our unique native languages, who gifted us this identity as a distinct people through our native tongues so that our native spiritual leaders could relay God’s love to our native people who could not understand that foreign tongue called English.”
In November, as we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate the history of our brothers and sisters and we are thankful for their gifts. We celebrate their faith and the many ways they contribute to our community of faith.
Creator, we are created bearing your image even with our unique language, culture and identity. Open our eyes to see more of you in our brothers and sisters. Heal your church that we may better proclaim your good news among all the nations. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Pentecost/ in Kingdomtide (International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church) - Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, we exalt you! You graciously answer the cry of all who seek you. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are persecuted for their faith. Sustain and encourage them by your Holy Spirit. Make each church a haven of physical and spiritual salvation. Use our tithes and offerings to safeguard the weak and vulnerable through the ministries of this congregation. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Isaiah 12:1-6)
November is Native American Heritage Month. It has not been an easy road for Native Americans inside and outside The United Methodist Church. While John Wesley learned Spanish to preach to Native Americans as far back as the 1700s, our relationship with our Native American brothers and sisters has at times been one that has caused the need for confession and intentional actions to move us toward reconciliation.
As we continue in this spirit of reconciliation, we are able to move deeper into appreciation for all who contribute to our nation and our church. As we celebrate our Native American brothers and sisters in our nation and in our United Methodist Church, we look toward all the ways that Native Americans enrich our lives and our worship.
Deeply rooted and connected to the creation and the Creator, we are reminded by them of the love of God and the love of neighbor and of the power in the Holy Spirit moving among us.