We are all 'in the circle'
I grew up in an area that you did not speak of Native ancestry. It is just one of the things that families would rather not speak of. I am not sure if this was done because they were ashamed, or if it is a matter of being able to “blend”.
As I grew up I was told there is Cherokee on my mother’s side. This is something I have been very curious about, in the last few years I have had the opportunity o do the research. On my father’s side I am able to trace it to ancient Judah. On my mother’s side it is a different story. I hit a huge roadblock. All I have is a couple of pictures and family stories. Because there are no records, and family wanting to keep it a secret the culture and traditions have been lost.
As I write this, the song “will the circle be unbroken” runs through my mind. This is true when it comes to or lives. We are part of so many circles. Family, church, friends etc….we are part of the circles. I look forward to being within the circle, to worship, to share, to celebrate and to comfort.
I am blessed to attend the Native American Course of Study and have learned so many things in addition to my studies. As I grow in my calling, I see the paths we all have and the circles that intersect with one another.
The symbol of the circle in native cultures says we are equal, no one person is better than any other, all actions and words spoken are accepted and respected.
In Mark 3:31-35 Jesus is told his mother and brothers are outside. Jesus asked those who were there, in the circle around him, who are his mother and his brothers. Jesus then says here are my mother ad brothers. Whoever dies God’s will are his other, and brothers and sister.
They were in a circle, what I see as the most important part of this scripture is verse 35: "Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.” This covers well, everyone.
The Lakota people have a saying that describes the belief of interconnectedness with all creation, Mitakuye Oyasin The phrase translates as "all my relatives," "we are all related," or "all my relations." It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys. Through Christ we are all related.
Black Elk a well respected Holy man of the Oglala Sioux has been quoted so many times on many subjects. I find these few interesting:
- You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round..... The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours....
- Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.
- And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...
Help us to remember that all things are related, we are part of your circle. You have called us to do your work here on this earth. We know by your words we are all equal in your sight. Let us go into this world to reach out to our lost brothers and sisters. Let us remember we are all equal, no better no worse but the same. In the Name of Tsi sa (Jesus) we pray.
(Lisa Wiedman is pastor of the Gifford UMC in the Iroquois River District)