About the Author

Jill Maisch - as a writer, speaker, missionary, and educator - has a tendency to wander upstream... against the more comfortable current of social and spiritual complacency.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Open to Change

Today – for the first time in too long – I actually opened my Bible.

Don’t get me wrong. I do study Scripture. I begin each day in meditation by reading and reflecting on the day’s Scripture and devotional in The Upper Room. The online version of The Upper Room, though, has a convenient link to Scripture. So I don’t need to use my Bible.

During Sunday worship, the Scripture passages are now on the screen in nice, large font. So I don’t need to use my Bible.

Today I started going through a pile of unfinished books with the intent of picking out a few to take with us on vacation. And there was my Bible.

I sat with my Bible on my lap trying to decide what to read and noticed there were two bookmarks. I opened to the page where I had randomly stuck one of the bookmarks.

First, I looked at the bookmark. It was one I had received as a gift from The Hopi Foundation when our mission team was there last summer. The bookmark describes Sumi'nangwa - one of the Hopi traditional values and visions. It reads:

A Hopi…
Is one who fulfills the
meaning of Sumi’nangwa
and will come together to do
activities for the benefit of
all, out of a compelling
desire and commitment
to contribute or return
something of value or
benefit to the society.

Songoopavi 1995

Next, I looked at the bookmarked page.  The bookmark was at Acts 4:32 which, in this Bible, is titled “Sharing Possessions”. This Scripture passage describes how members of the early church lived together. I read, “…they shared all that they had with each other” (Acts 4:32) and “no one went in need of anything…” (Acts 4:34)

Wow. Evidently, early Christians practiced Sumi’nangwa.

How unlike our possession-passionate society of today were the early followers of Christ.  Whereas we seem to live in a “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” society, the early Christians knew what they had wasn’t really theirs. They knew everything they had was from God. As sisters and brothers in Christ they shared what they had so that all had enough. I have observed a similar model of community whenever I’m in Hopi.

The people I have met in the Hopi villages share freely and openly with each other. They share their sacred blue corn meal. They share hand-made gifts, fruits and vegetables during the ceremonies. They share in the raising of their children. They even share with those of us who are not Hopi. There is a strong cultural and spiritual desire to make sure everyone has enough. My Hopi sisters and brothers have modeled for me what it is to truly love and care for each other.

So here I sit – convicted by both a bookmark and a Bible passage. I am asking myself many questions. Do I freely share God’s blessings with others? When do I cling to what I perceive as mine? In what ways does God want me to downsize so that I and others have enough? And... what is enough?

I hope to continue struggling with these questions. They’re good questions. It's a good struggle. And, like all good struggles, I know it’s the uncomfortable beginning of change… of transformation.

I can’t wait to see where the other bookmark has been placed...

1 comment: