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North Dakota's gifts to God: A reflection by Gordan Graner

By: Gordon Graner, missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church

Harvest 1

Photos by Pastor Rick Craig.

Dear friends,

North Dakota, our home state, is a humble agricultural land that has quietly produced food for the world in abundance. Our state is especially suited for growing hard red spring wheat which is high in protein and used to make bread. North Dakota has been called the bread basket of the world. Has that made us famous and put us in the upper ranks of the other states?

No.  Our years of experience living outside of North Dakota have made it clear that our state is considered by most to be inferior. We have no big cities, no professional sports teams, no mountains, no trees, no famous attractions, and no people, well not very many. We are famous for our long and bitterly cold winters. Not a big asset.

North Dakota, in the opinion of outsiders, is a kind of windswept tundra of little importance, not a good place to live nor visit, more suited for buffalo than people. It is understandable that a good many of us North Dakotans have internalized our humble condition and consider ourselves to be inferior to others from the ‘important’ states. We have gotten the message.

When others dismiss us as inferior people they are likely to show little interest in getting to know us. (They will however pay attention to us when there is money to be made from our natural resources. But that is another story.) But for the most part those who consider them- selves superior to us will find us of little value to them, not worth the effort to build a relationship.

So then, what is lost if we and our ‘superiors’ accept this false dichotomy and support this unjust manmade hierarchy? In Biblical language what is lost is the pearl of great price. What is lost is the truth of who we are. The world seeks to keep us in our place. God seeks to liberate us, that we may freely share our unique gifts with which we were born.

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We are the salt of the earth. 
We are the prairie.
are the wind. 
We are the blizzard.
We are people of the soil.
We are the image and likeness of the God of the Great Plains. 
We are bread.
We are good neighbors.
We can see clearly for miles and miles. 
We are people of the four directions.
We are wildlife.
We are laughter.
We are the North Star.

Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost.


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000