The “insignificant” ones are becoming more and more difficult to unearth. They have long been buried amidst the accumulating rubble of civilization; and it has been going on for 10,000 years.
We continue to bury them, each and every time that they stand in the way of civilization’s progress; whenever there is gold in them there hills; whenever trees are needed as a cash crop; whenever land can be stripped of beauty and health for the purposes of wealth.
Still, the de-valued ones have hung on, here and there. They have been diminished radically, but not yet destroyed utterly. Some have hung on in the jungles of the Amazon rain forest. Others in the desolate north. Even on reservations overrun with poverty and despair, not all has been forgotten. In fact, former ways that meant abundant life for their practitioners, are being recalled and renewed. And, among the recollections is the certainty that they would rather die that live by the ways of their conquerors. There has to be, and there is, a better way to live in God’s creation.
I no longer wonder if somewhere within those recollections there might be a word of knowledge that is salvific for me and for the fruit of my love; children, grandchildren, on to the seventh generation; and the creation whose completion includes, but is not limited to, humanity being what humanity was created to be. Just Love.
I know that such indigenous wisdom not only exists. It is also available. Ever since college, when I wrote an independent study paper on the spirituality of Native Americans, I have been searching for this knowledge. And, I have been asking myself the question, “Why?” Why in the world, as a life-long follower of Jesus, am I also drawn to a spirituality that has its roots somewhere back near the dawn of time; millions of years?
I have asked this question as I have reflected, for over 25 years, on the fact that within a few seconds in a sweat lodge, part of an 11 day vision quest in the Adirondack wilderness, I learned more about prayer than during four years of formal theological education. Trust–or suffer needlessly. Surrender–or die.
I asked this question as I recently read a most expansive interpretation of the life of Jesus from Steven Charleston, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation and an Episcopal Priest; “The Four Vision Quests of Jesus.”
I listened for the answer just the other day while listening to a you-tube video, Prayer for the Earth: An Indigenous Response to These Times, with Sam Rushworth, an elder of Chreokee descent.
After all this time and all this listening, I now know the answer to the question, “Why have I been drawn periodically and over a life-time towards a spirituality that has roots in millions of years of human history. I said it just a few sentences ago. I have found there, “…a word of knowledge that is salvific for me and for the fruit of my love; children, grandchildren, on to the seventh generation, and the creation whose completion includes humanity being what humanity was created to be; Just Love.