God Shows No Partiality

Then Peter began to speak to them: 'I truly understand that God shows no partiality.' - Acts 10:34

During the Easter season our lessons from Acts show the post-Pentecost mission movement of the early apostles. Each week we read of cross-cultural engagements for the sake of spreading the good news of God's love in Jesus. One of the priorities of the synod is that we engage in cross-cultural experiences for the sake of discovering the face of Jesus in those with whom we would not normally relate. I have just returned from a three-day visit to our congregation, House of Prayer (HoP) and the Navajo Evangelical Lutheran Mission (NELM) at Rock Point, Ariz., near Four Corners. There is a new spirit blowing in both HoP and NELM. I was once again struck by the rugged beauty of both the natural landscape and the people who call this place home.

I want to urge those who have missed the chance to visit this part of our mission field to consider making the time to experience this cross-cultural opportunity. For too many of us our image of our Native American neighbors is limited to old Westerns, biased histories, and a tendency to put all native cultures into one category. This mission has been evolving through the complexities of history, culture, and faith for sixty years. One way to breakdown our stereotypes is to simply visit the mission with eyes and ears open and mouths shut.

The mission is an excellent place for service and learning for all ages, but as I have come to learn we need to ask how we can best support the leadership and the residents first, before coming with our own agendas and thoughts of what "they" need. Whether as an individual or a group the leadership team is open and eager to create mutually-beneficial experiences as well as how we can all see God's great impartiality at work.

Celebrating God's Inclusion, Bishop Steve