Consider using these verses and sermon starters for Indigenous Ministry Sunday. This Sunday provides an opportunity for everyone in Canada to learn more about Indigenous peoples, their cultures and to celebrate the gifts and richness that Indigenous people bring to life in Canada.
Verses and Sermon Starters
2 Corinthians 5:16, 18-19
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
What does it mean to stop regarding all people from a worldly point of view? Consider the perception that followers had of Jesus during his ministry, during his death, and after his resurrection. Whatever it means to have a “worldly” perception of another person, the peak of the “worldly” perception of Jesus had to have been while he was dead. Obviously, while Jesus was dead there would have been disappointment, pain, attempts to draw conclusions about who he was, what he said, and why it failed, plus the other typical gossip that happens about entire people groups while they are in misery. This is what it means to regard someone from a worldly point of view.
Because of the resurrection Jesus’ followers saw him in a new way. Now expectations of who Jesus was included sayings like, “beyond anything we can ask or imagine.” This is what it means to “do so no longer.” We are to recognize that, though individuals and even entire cultures have been brought down by various forms of dealing and receiving death, in Christ every one of these people is a new creation full of unimaginable expectations.
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
Peace goes beyond the status quo. Quiet among the discontent is not a sign of peace. Failing schools, broken treaties, and racial slurs are not signs of peace. We cannot claim to be living up to the call of peace until every effort is made to see every barrier to human flourishing removed. To put all of our energy and investments towards peace is the ultimate sign of Christ in us and Christ’s reign over heaven and earth.
Covenants are important to Christians. They draw us into relationships of reciprocity and responsibility. This blog series may be helpful in reflecting on the New Covenant Declaration, a commitment with Indigenous peoples to uphold the treaties, earlier covenants made between Indigenous peoples and those who arrived from Europe. The Christian Reformed Church was one of the churches that made this serious commitment to honour the treaties and to honour Indigenous rights
The resource from Rev. Bert Adema considers cross-cultural ministry and the difference between syncretism and contextualization, recommends elements of a process of communal discernment of these questions. The suggestions found here may be helpful to your congregation as you journey towards reconciliation.