I was encouraged to read Massacre at Sand Creek; How Methodists Were Involved in an American Tragedy by Gary Roberts this past summer. The book came recommended by our Native American congregations at the California Nevada Annual Conference Session this past June following a Worship Service of Repentance for past grievances committed against tribes across the geographical bounds of our conference. This work of non-fiction was commissioned by action of the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church to continue its investigation into how the Church was implicated in decimating tribes of American Indians during the nineteenth century.
While I would commend this book to your reading to learn of the tragic consequences of our church’s actions or inactions in the past, I believe the lessons learned (if, indeed, they have been learned) might be best summarized in the following quote: “Sand Creek had the impact that it did because it confronted white Americans with “the savage within” and reminded them that the tether that restrains the worst in human beings is fragile. The reason they [white Americans] failed was not so much the consequence of conscious design but of a way of seeing that limited vision. It made the conflict ‘irrepressible’ and generations of Indians victims.” (p. 241)
This Sunday, we’re addressing the topic of sin and how, if left undetected let along unaddressed through repentance, can easily result in evil with tragic consequences for all those involved. I hope you’ll join us for this in-depth look into that which characterizes the human condition as well as the hope we have in not repeating history, whether it be our nation’s or our own.