Sermon given at the
2nd National Native Convocation

August 4, 1993
by Ethel Ahenakew, Licensed Layreader, Diocese of Saskatchewan

Heavenly father, praise you for the gift of all these words. I offer myself and ask you to use me to give these to your people what it is your will that they receive. This I ask in Jesus' name. Amen.

In his word, God wants to tell us about his love, compassion and concern for each of us here present. Through the organizers of this convocation, he chose the scriptures that we heard. He also teaches us.

What is it he wants to tell us in the story of David and his sins with Batthsheba and to her husband? I really wondered about that as I read this story, it seems to be very inappropriate, here, at our convocation. I hardly think any of us are guilty of these kinds of sins.

What I think God wants us to learn is that to live right is difficult even if he has chosen us to do his work. He chose David to be a leader. I had to do a little search for more of the story of David. In 1 Samuel 16, the Lord said to Samuel, " I am sending you to Jesse, I have chosen one of his sons to be a king." He instructs him to invite Jesse to a sacrifice to the Lord. He invites Jesse and his sons. He thought 7 sons were the chosen, each time, the Lord said, not this one. Finally, Samuel says, Are these all the sons you have? The reply, "There is the youngest, but he is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him." They waited. When he arrived, the Lord said to Samuel, "Anoint him, he is the one."

1 Samuel 17 is the story of David and Goliath. It is a wonderful inspiring story. I have come to believe that nothing in all the world happens that is not a part of God's plan. I offer praise and deep gratitude that each of you are here, the fact that you are here is God's plan for you, he will use you to carry out his plan for your fellow man from what you learn here.

David committed adultery and what lawyers would call premeditated murder. Maybe we think, I'm certainly very far from doing those sins. I believe that God is convicting us. We may not be doing these two things, we may be doing nothing to work for change which I believe is sin as God gave us our lives to bring about his kingdom on earth. Maybe we don't pray, don't read the Bible, don't go to church regularly. We can be like the Pharisee who prayed, thank you God, I am not like that guy over there. We could be saying, thank you God, I don't sin like David.

The word adultery, the first part of the word is adult. We do things that we think are the rights of an adult. I will do with my life as I see fit, if it feels right, do it. I don't think God wants this from us. I think he looks at us as his prodigal sons and daughters, his children. Everyday, he watches for us to come back to him and to begin to trust that he will give us the abundance of his riches he so very much wants to shower on us. That's what he tells us in Matthew 18, v. 3. "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of God."

There are injustices and open and hidden oppression, not only in the Anglican Church, but other churches where there is a hierarchy. I think God is telling not only we who are at the bottom of this, but those who are on higher parts, we work for change. Those at the top have considerable power, it seems they are abusing it or they don't use it to work for change.

Those of us who are members of our parishes, we see oppression against our people by our political leaders. We must work for change to stop all the oppression and abuse of power; that is what David did in the story, he was the king and had the power to have the husband killed.

I turn to the second reading. Take verse 11, "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil left them. I take this to mean that God is telling us that we whom he had called to do his work can do these extraordinary miracles. Again we go back to where Jesus tells us, "Unless you change and become like little children," that is when we admit we need a heavenly father who will work these miracles through us.

Verse 16 says, "The man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all." Do you believe that this happens in our day?

I do.

In AA, the patient is taught not to take the first drink. When an alcoholic is trying to quit, Satan tries everything to make him take that first drink, all kinds of trouble can come to the alcoholic that will cause him to take that first drink, and when he does, that is when Satan has won and taken control of that man, he is literally in the hands of Satan, he is a puppet of Satan, that is why an alcoholic and do the things he does not want to do:

- drink up all the family money

- beat his family members and say mean things to them

- get in a vehicle and run over someone

- get a gun and kill someone or more than one person

There are a few of us who have escaped untold suffering caused by addictions and there are other addictions such as solvents, pills, relationships, even sex.

I have been sober now many years, I still suffer from addictions, sometimes I want to quit the ministry, I am a Layreader. But I have been in personal prayer now since about 1985, never try to miss a day. I have a personal relationship with God. I'm ever working on obeying his command:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Lord God, I ask you to help us to work for change both in ourselves and the problems that we face each day. This I ask in Jesus' name. Amen.



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