2.a. Leading & Serving,  2.b. Let it sing: General Assembly

Celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in a Global Community

Hello there, lovely Everyday God-talk community!

This past September 28th marked the start of a truly special time for numerous Korean & Asian diaspora families. It’s the time when they come together to celebrate Chuseok, also known as Harvest Day, Autumn Fest, and Full Moon Night. They are lost in translation, and all in accordance with the lunar calendar.

For Korean/American families, the festivities extended until October 3rd, coinciding with Korea’s National Foundation Day, a day that commemorates the birth of the Korean people, believed to have happened an incredible 5,000 years ago. It’s a time when Korean and Korean diaspora communities come together to cherish the rich history and culture of Korea. And there’s more to come, as on October 9th, they will celebrate Hangul-Nal, the day when the Korean letters, Hangul, was created 500 years ago in 1443.

I’m sharing this perspective not to promote nationalism or patriotism but to shed light on the fact that our world is wonderfully diverse and doesn’t solely revolve around what’s often referred to as the “First World,” “North America,” or the United States. This reflection seems particularly apt after World Communion Sunday, which many Presbyterians celebrate to embrace the global church. However, it’s essential for us to ask ourselves how well we truly understand the everyday realities of people around the world.

Well, let’s not be too harsh or judgmental about who we are and how we practice our faith as Christians and Americans. While many have become more aware of global issues during and after the pandemic, being a “woke” Christian isn’t the sole requirement for entry into the “Kin-dom” of God.[1] Still, we can remain mindful of what we might overlook due to our privileged position in the first-world, white-normative context of the United States.

Being mindful of that privilege, there’s an exciting event on the horizon for us all in the United States. In 2023, October 9th marks Indigenous People’s Day, a day of celebration and recognition. For centuries, this day was observed as Columbus Day, a holiday that perpetuated misconceptions and mistreatment of the sovereign nations and peoples of this Turtle Island. While Columbus Day and Columbus himself are now subject to being “canceled,” they still serve as a reminder of the shame associated with colonial and imperial history. Every year, it prompts us to reflect on the un-Christian aspects of the papal Doctrine of Discovery.

I wanted to give you a gentle tap on the shoulder, to encourage you to revisit the wonderful conversations we had at our Everyday God-talk consultation table with Indigenous leaders of PC(USA). Remember, it all started thanks to those GA referrals back in 2016. Oh, the wisdom and insights we’ve gathered along the way!

I’m also thrilled to share something special with you today. Last August, our dear friend and colleague, Irvin Porter, led a worship and delivered a sermon on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples that touched our hearts. And let’s not forget the liturgy in this BULLETIN and Irvin’s SERMON Acting, Loving and Walking. Those were truly unforgettable moments.

So why am I bringing all this up? Well, I hope that revisiting these resources will provide you with ample food for thought, sparking those wonderful “aha” moments. There’s something truly joyful and exciting about learning new things and, most importantly, the right things to expand our horizons.

[1] A decolonial term created by a Mujerista theologian Ada-Maria Isasi-Diaz. See Isasi Díaz AM ( 2010) Kin-dom of God: a mujerista proposal. In: Valentín B (ed.) In Our Own Voices – Latino/a Renditions of Theology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 171-90.