Where Hope Grows

Matthew 1:18-25                                                                          12.22.19

There is a division among us.  We have it at our house.  You may have it at yours.  Some people love to get surprised by a Christmas gift, trusting that the giver will know what will bring joy to the recipient.  Others prefer to give gift suggestions to the giver, ensuring that the gift will be exactly what is needed or desired.  I want to take a little poll this morning to see just how divided we are as a large group.  I am going to ask you to raise your hand if you prefer being surprised by a gift or if you prefer receiving an item that you have requested.    (raise hands)

God is the kind of giver who likes to surprise!  God did not select Mary because of anything she had done.  There was no contest to see who could bear the Son of God that she won because of her charisma or good looks or caring heart.  God selected Mary as a vehicle to surprise the world with an intervention of hope.  To say the least, Mary was surprised.  Her family was surprised.  Her neighbors were surprised.

God did select Joseph because he was of the family of David.  Our gospel writer spends the first 17 verses of this gospel of Jesus Christ documenting how Joseph is a member of the historic families of Israel, name after name after name, all the way back to Father Abraham.  Then we find out that Joseph is going to miraculously be the father of this child even without human conception. Continue reading “Where Hope Grows”

Don’t Give Up!

Luke 18:1-8                                                                                                                      10.20.19

The Osage nation, together with other native American tribes, was shuffled to a desolate area of the Midwest called “Indian Territory”, with some of them settling in what was to become the state of Oklahoma.  Over a period of many years, the US government systematically removed tribes from their ancestral lands and forced them to live separated from white settlers treating native Americans like they did not belong here, refusing to allow them to practice their traditional religion or speak their native tongue.  It was a painful period in our history that has left its imprint on multiple generations to follow.  When oil was discovered beneath their section of “Indian territory”, suddenly the Osage were wealthy, wealthier than any of their neighbors of any ethnic background.  Every member of the tribe was allotted a regular share of the proceeds from the oil production.  Yet because the Osage were not viewed as fully capable of managing their own money, most were assigned whites to serve as guardians over their share of the oil money, many of whom were dishonest and disrespectful, refusing to allow the Osage to spend their own money as they needed or claiming a portion of the funds for themselves.

This ugly story is chronicled in the book our multicultural book club is reading for our November discussion, titled Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann.  In it, the sordid, shameful history of the way we have subjected people to oppression is exposed for all to see.  Continue reading “Don’t Give Up!”