Today is Veteran’s Day. We honor those who have served in our military, including many of you and your families. Please join me in this Veteran’s Day prayer:
Almighty and ever-living God, we give you thanks for the people who have served and defended our country and the values of freedom and justice we hold so dear. Help us to be mindful of the sacrifices they made and the hardship endured by their families and friends, so that we never take for granted the privileges they have secured for us. Hear us we pray, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
– from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Prayer Book for the Armed Services.
On Sunday, we are doing something new. We are recognizing Indigenous People’s month by using parts of a liturgy designed by the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Association of Lutherans and then, after 10:30 worship, studying the recent Declaration from the ELCA to American Indian and Alaska Native People. You can read it here.
As I’ve delved into this liturgy and study, I’ve learned an enormous amount about not only the history of indigenous people and the church, but also the present. The language of the liturgy has expanded my sense of God, my awareness of my relatedness with indigenous people, and my conviction that the sins of the past can be healed through truth-telling and God’s reconciling power.
In the gospel for Sunday, Jesus tells the disciples that the temple will be destroyed. That devastation will just be the beginning of the birth pangs. I hear the call from Jesus – especially as our church walks the road of racial justice – to be humble; to allow the structures of our religious life to change when they don’t serve God; and to trust in Jesus to help all people look forward to a life with hope.
I hope you will find the liturgy on Sunday as holy and inspiring as I have, and I hope you will stay for the discussion to learn more about how our church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is actively working to embody the gospel with American Indian and Alaska Native people in a new way.