Thursday, June 14, 2012

Forgive what our lips tremble to name...

Lenore Three Stars
 Romans 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

I was watching a show called Jerico on Netflicks with my husband yesterday.  One of the things about Netflicks that I like, is that I can watch a bunch of episodes in a row. Which makes watching tv more like reading a good book. I can set it down when I am ready and have had enough of the story for one sitting. We just started watching this show but sat and watched 4-5 episodes before calling it a night. In the final episode that we watched, a young daughter asks her father about another man in the community. "Is he a good man or a bad man?" Her father tells her there is no such thing.  I suppose there is some truth to that statement. We've all made mistakes and bad choices. We are all people with a past and people with a future and the decisions we make along the way will in the end tell the story of who we were. 

In our service this past Sunday, Lenore Three Stars shared some of her story of growing up on an indian reservation. Here is the link if you would like to listen to that story. I guess it was hard for me was to hear American history shared from another perspective. I have to ask the question "Are we a good people or a bad people? I suppose it depends who's telling the story. We took the land of the indigenous people, and then took their children and set them to boarding schools that were modeled after prisoner of war camps. It was hard to hear her talk about how the word "Christian" for her people carries with it all the negatives of a word like"Nazi"to many of us. The church came in to run those schools and their goal was to assimilate these children into our culture. To make them just like us. Many children never returned home and if they did they no longer fit in. She shared about one child who lost a finger every time she spoke in her own language.  From her view a man like Christopher Columbus was not a hero to be celebrated but a man sent by a foreign power to convert, kill, or in slave.  The history we know has been written by the victors, and there is a lot that was left out. She shared about her own journey to know and follow Jesus. She calls herself Lakota woman who follows Jesus. Jesus forces no one to follow him, and it is a ugly stain that we must bear for the sins of those who felt it their duty to convert, kill or in slave people of cultures that were not just like ours. Is the model for worshiping God what we as white people have adopted truly the only right way to worship God. Must everyone sit in pews and sing hymns? Must everyone sing chorus and meet in store fronts? Is everything that is not "white" pagan? Is there room for cultural diversity in the expression of worship to God?  Revelation 7:9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

What do we do about the guilt we feel over the bad stuff in our personal and collective histories?
We ended with this prayer from the Covenant Hymnal.  It ministered to me on multiple levels. It helped me with my own past that I have been working to reconcile. Also it helped as I was grieved by the things that had been done by our nation and by the church to other people groups. Let the Lord meet you with in the words of the prayer. You know what sins your lips tremble to name and what your heart can no longer bear. Pray along with it regarding your own sins, or our national and yes even for the sins of the church. It is profound and deeply healing.

"Gracious God,
our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and to deep to undo.
Forgive what our lips tremble to name,
what our hearts can no longer bear,
and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.

Set us free from a past that we cannot change;
open to us a future in which we can be changed;
and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image;
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world." 

1 comment:

  1. thought provoking. History IS written by the victor, that is true, so we never know the full story. Each generation certainly has its sins. The entire human race has failed on so many levels. Only the the grace of God do we live.


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