JR. Forasteros - October 29, 2017

Sitting with Grief

Good Grief

Grief is uncomfortable. In the face of tragedy, no words are sufficient to salve our pain. Yet in the face of others’ pain, we find ourselves offering platitudes and speaking for God so we can avoid their pain. But Lamentations 1 is a funeral dirge. We hear the woman’s honest, unflinching cries of pain and see the prophet join her, offering nothing but his presence. How can we learn to be honest about pain so we can begin the process of reorientation?

From Series: "Good Grief"

We avoid pain and grief as much as possible. When faced with someone else's grief, we avoid or offer platitudes. But the book of Lamentations invites us to sit with grief, to enter into the prophetic process of Lament. In this series, we'll explore how to grieve and how to be a friend to the grieving. Ultimately, we'll see how the process of lament invites us to be agents of healing in the larger world.

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This sermon was written and delivered by Rev. Sonya Brown.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Representation matters!”, haven’t you? What does the lack of proper cultural representation look like? I was maybe 5 and my sister was 6. My parents were driving us back from our grandparents’ house on the Navajo Reservation. We saw a couple of tepees set up near a house. My sister and I both jumped up with excitement and said, “LOOK!” “TEPEES!” “Let’s stop there and see the Indians.” Our mom and dad said, “You both are Indians. You are Navajo!” My sister and I disagreed. “NOOOOO! We’re not Indian. “We don’t jump around and say, ‘hey, nay ya’ or ‘how.’ We don’t join war parties and raid settlers. We’re not drunken Indians who drink fire water.”

Can you guess where two little rez girls would get the idea of that type of “Indian?”

Us rez kids, who are people who grew up on a reservation set up by the United States Government, have searched and found where proper representation can happen. There was the movie Thunderheart that came out in 1992 with Graham Green and Val Kilmer. The movie Powwow Highway was released in 1988. Dance Me Outside was released in 1994. The Outlaw Josey Wales was released in 1976 and has Clint Eastwood and Chief Dan George. These are just a few that we watched growing up. 

I am excited that there has been better cultural representation in television with Reservation Dogs. Sadly, Peacock canceled Rutherford Falls. 

We hear about diversity at work, school, maybe church, and in daily conversations we might have with one another. The lack of diversity may go unnoticed if what you watch, participate in, or your social groups you are part of reflects your own ethnicity or cultural background.

Diversity needs to be seen. It’s nice to see diversity in television and films. It’s also much better to be included in a community that values diversity.

In that light, for this series, we wanted to bring back a beloved segment. During the pandemic, we did a “Cooking with Catalyst” video, where JR. taught us to make pasta while talking about the nature of good. 

I invited JR. and Nathan to visit me so I could teach them how to make Navajo tacos, which is a dish that is a staple of Native culture all over the country. Enjoy!

The Navajo taco is the story of the Navajo people on a plate – it’s about how we used creativity and resilience to endure and thrive in the face of conquest and genocide. And it’s about how we welcome people no matter who they are or where they come from.

Navajo tacos illustrate the good news of diversity. Diversity is important because all people should be included. Diversity makes us better.

In the church, diversity is important because ALL of God’s people ARE invited to God’s table.

Join us Sunday as we learn how pursuing diversity marks us as faithful to God’s way.

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