From the Senior Pastor
Loving Your Neighbors by Getting to Know Them
I was struck recently by an article in the Holden Village Voice in which the author, Christian Scharen, wrote, “Whatever your experience, followers of Jesus are called to…finding a way to love our neighbor by learning enough about them to see them in their full beauty, dignity, and creativity.” It seems to me that’s a message we need to keep repeating over and over again so that the divides that exist between peoples may be bridged and God’s love for all creation might be experienced by all.
But how do we do that? How do we rise above that strong human instinct to group ourselves with others who are similar to us?
A place to begin is to return to scripture, looking for what God has to say for how we are to live our lives on this earth. And quite honestly, it won’t take very long before we begin to pick up on the fact that God’s heart is clearly for all people, that God in Christ Jesus is reconciling the whole world to God’s self, and that we as followers of Jesus are called to live out that same generosity of spirit that God revealed in his own Son. This isn’t a salvation issue—rather, it’s a discipleship issue, a matter of how we will live within the freedom that we’ve been given through the unconditional gift of forgiveness.
The next step to take is to simply find ways in the course of your daily life when you might engage your neighbors in conversation—in other words, treat them like the human being God created them to be. It might be at your kid’s soccer game. It might be across the backyard fence. It might be in the Asian foods aisle at Hy-Vee. Opportunities are all around us every day to talk with others. Whom we talk with is clearly our choice to make. Why not make the choice intentional as a small but meaningful way of bridging the gap between peoples?
Another option is to take a class that teaches about other cultures. Here at Our Savior’s we’ve twice offered a four-week course, “My Neighbor Is Muslim.” Those who have attended have found it to be very helpful in gaining a broader understanding of Islam. The highlight of the four weeks is the fourth session, when we invite Dr. Mohammad “Zeeshan” Qamar to join us. Participants often speak of how helpful it was to hear directly from a Muslim who in every way is a neighbor, living, working, and raising a family here in Sioux Falls.
An option that “kicks it up a notch” is to visit a local mosque. Dr. Qamar has extended to us an open invitation to attend Friday prayers at the Muslim Community Center of South Dakota. I anticipate that we will be organizing a visit in the near future; watch for details coming soon.
There is also the option of becoming active in an advocacy group like South Dakota Faith in Public Life (www.sdfaithinpubliclife.org). Not only will participating in a group like this broaden your knowledge of other peoples and cultures, but it will also connect you with people who are passionate about working for justice and equality for all as a response to a God whose love extends to all corners of the earth.
Finally (though this is hardly an exhaustive list!), an option that I’m choosing this summer is to participate in the Rosebud Reservation Immersion Experience, July 8 through 14. This is an annual course offered through Sioux Falls Seminary and organized in part by Doug
Anderson, a licensed psychologist and the Director of Clinical Services at Sioux Falls Psychological Services, an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Sioux Falls Seminary, and the husband of OSL Faith Community Nurse Michelle Anderson. I will live in community for a week with other participants and among the Sicangu Lakota people of Mission, South Dakota. I expect that it will be an experience that will further shape my understanding of and appreciation for my native neighbors living on the Rosebud.
So there you have it, a few options for learning more about your neighbor who may be different from you. I pray that God will grant all of us the will and the grace we will need to respond to Christ’s call to love our neighbors and to see them in “their full beauty, dignity, and creativity.”
Summer Worship Services
(through Labor Day)
Festive Worship – 5:00 p.m., Sanctuary
Celebrate Worship – 8:45 a.m., Celebrate Center
Festive Worship – 10:00 a.m., Sanctuary
Celebrate Worship – 10:30 a.m., Celebrate Center
June 3, 2017
William Michael Nielsen, the son of Eric and Shannon Nielsen.
Christopher Robert and Emma Caroline King, the children of Drew King and Rylee Omara.
May 28, 2017
Flowers are given by Dave and Donna Krueger in celebration of Aaron and Laura Krueger’s fifth wedding anniversary (May 26) and Jessica and Zach Rutten’s 12th wedding anniversary (May 27).
June 11, 2017
Flowers are given in celebration of Phyllis and Harold Krueger’s birthdays, on June 14 and 15, by their family.
May 28, 2017
Flowers are given in honor of Pr. Pete and Bev Petersen’s 65th wedding on June 13 by their children, Wendy (Bruce) Hasche, Alan Petersen, Sara Petersen, and Wayne (Kelly) Petersen.
Memorials and Honoraria
In Memory of Joel Cook
Jim and Marilyn Green
Delmyn and Arlys Johnson
Gary and Darlene Murra
Eldon and Pauline Nelson
Curt and Shirley Schafer
Wayne and Norma Steinocker
In Memory of Helen Glaser
Arden and Darle Barlow
Kenneth and Kathleen Gilbery
Dean and Janelle Johannesen
David and Jean Nelson
T. and Anna Mary Peterson
Andrew and Jean Schmidt
William and Joyce Schmidt
Scott and Amber Steffensen
Mark and Bonnie Thompson
In Memory of Steve Gilbertson
Ragnhild Anne Westby
Theology on Tap
Come and join Pr. Randy at Monk’s House of Ale Repute, 420 E. 8th St., for Theology on Tap—conversation, reflection, prayer, and Christian community—on Thursday, July 27, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.
OSL Summer Blast July 12
Don’t miss the next Summer Blast, on Wednesday, July 12, bringing food, fun and games, and outdoor worship to OSL members, neighbors, and friends! Food will be served starting at 5:00 p.m., with fun and games at 5:30. A simple worship service will follow, at 6:30. It’ll be a hot time!