I was given a great opportunity this year to co-lead the Anderson University Tri-S trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation. As a way to bring people along, and to process my experience I’m planning to blog each night. This is my third trip to Pine Ridge, but it’s the first trip where I will be working with the Wounded Knee Church of God.
March 17, 2013
Sunday Morning Service and a Trip to Gordon
It’s My Message, I Have to Preach It
Today was always going to be the most nerve wracking day of the trip, because today was the day that I was asked to preach during the church service at the Wounded Knee Church of God. I love these opportunities. I’m humbled and amazed to think that I have been given this chance to speak a word from the Lord in this place. It seems like something someone else should be doing, not me, and I count it one of the great blessings of my life.
And it freaks me out. Completely.
So I knew that this morning would be an incredibly stressful morning. I knew what I was going to speak about, because it seems like it’s the only message I have anymore. It’s the message of hope. The message of life in Christ and the promise of his kingdom breaking into this world. This time, I’d preach it from Psalm 18, and I’d wrap it in the only story I could think of in this place. It was the easiest sermon I’ve ever put together really.
But it still totally freaked me out. Service started at 11 a.m. and at about nine the jitters kicked in. It only happens out here, and it’s overwhelming at time.
Three of the girls from our trip led worship and did a great job. Emily took prayer requests and offered the requests before the Lord, and I sat and wondered whether or not I’d overstepped my bounds once again in my preaching on the reservation. As I took to the pulpit, nervous as ever, I began my introduction. Stammering, and hoping I could think clearly enough for this to make any sense at all.
Then it happened.
I looked at my notes. I looked a Psalm 18. And I felt inside of me the Spirit say, “Just speak.”
And I was calm. I was steady. And I spoke the message I’ve been given. A message of the hope found in Christ, even in the face of the darkness. It landed wherever it would, and when I was done I was thankful for the chance to say it once again.
Hope for the Future
After the service, Pastor Stanley shared for a moment, and part of what he shared was a sense that God was at work in this place. He shared that others have spoken of God’s work on Pine Ridge blossoming from Wounded Knee, and something inside of me thought, “Isn’t that just what the Kingdom does?”
The Kingdom will take a place where there is pain, where there is darkness, and where there was a massacre, and from the heart of that place bring forth a hope and a future.
The Kingdom will find the place where others won’t go, and live there. Tabernacling in the midst of the hopelessness as a sign of hope.
The Kingdom will drive straight into the darkness, wear it’s pain and despair, and die under the weight. Only to be resurrected into new life and defeat the darkness forever.
After all, that’s what the King did.
I treasure this moment, to hear someone from the reservation say that there’s hope. It will become a part of my prayers, that God’s Kingdom will come, and his will be done in Wounded Knee as in Heaven. That would be a beautiful day, one that might even outshine the beauty of this place.