I’m learning so many things that matter to me now that I am part of Sheridan. I thank you for your patience with such questions as, “Does it take two chickens to make an egg?” Your answers, so quick on the draw, “Well, you have eggs and you haven’t laid a chicken yet!” I had a good laugh at myself. I knew none of this in Scotland or in California.
I’m writing my sermon for Pentecost Sunday, and I’m reminded that as a newcomer here in Sheridan, I might as well be speaking a different language. My new ranching women friends have been very helpful, and we’ve enjoyed much hilarity along the way.
Since I got here, I’ve learned to slow down…literally and mentally. When you all say 30 miles per hour, you really mean it. But you know what? There is no need to hurry, not anymore. I’ve slowed down enough to hear the sounds of nature and have met new friends happy to point out this hawk or this bird singing a song I’ve never heard. I have never seen so many cows with their babies, and I wonder if it still strikes you as a blessing when you see it each year. I am grateful to you all for welcoming me as your neighbor.
Maybe you have seen an article that says I’m big on social justice education. Well, that is true. How can we all get along if we’re not willing to get to know our neighbors? And yes, that takes some patience along the way. My church, First Congregational United Church of Christ here in Sheridan, was pleased and honored to partner with The Brinton Museum in order to bring to the community “Exploring Cheyenne Indian Spirituality.” After Mr. Tallbull spoke, someone said to me, “We are all one, after all.” I think that pretty much sums it up, social justice and the fact that we are all here on this planet together. Please look for more educational experiences as our church reaches out to the world around us.
You will also no doubt hear that we are starting an effort to repair our historic stained-glass windows in this gothic revival building. When they were installed well over a hundred years ago, the windows cost $600. The cost of repairing all of them will be around $60,000. How times change. While we don’t “need” the stained-glass to meet as people of God, these incredible pieces of art are very much worth trying to save. We will try very hard, even if it’s one window at a time.
Remembering that it is Pentecost, I would ask that you think about all the different languages we speak and that special day when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and followers of Christ, and they knew what it meant to come together in shared understanding. Praying that we not only love our neighbors, but that we love ourselves as much as God loves each of us.
Rev. Dr. Sheila Naismith is the Minister at First Congregational United Church of Christ.