Monday, June 25, 2012

Greasy Grass, John the Baptist, Custer and repentance

It's a National holiday here on the Cheyenne River Reservation.... Yeppa. The day Custer got nicked. 1876. One hundred and thirty six years ago.

The Tribal offices and institutions are all closed. Bureau of Indian Affairs is not, of course, because they are Federally run....

Custer was running after those who refused to stay put in the concentration camps Reservations or accept the destruction of their culture civilizing effects so grossly generously offered by the Federal government --which was, as you may recall, riding high on its Civil War victory horse and had to do something with all those soldiers addicted to war anxious to serve their Country.


And if celebrating Custer's defeat makes you uncomfortable... well, here --I contextualized some Scripture we are given to read today on the Feast of John the Baptist --I offer it in humility, because my ears and heart have been changed, and I hope you, too, can hear the voice of a people who suffer with hope in hand:

Isaiah 40:1-11 --contextualized

Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God Grandfather.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem my People,
and cry to her them
that she has they have served her their term,
that her their penalty is paid,
that she has they have received from the LORD's Grandfather's hand
double for all her their sins.
A voice cries out:
"In the wilderness prepare the way road of the LORD Wankatankan,
make straight in the desert a highway a path for our God Wakantankan.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD mystery of The Great Mystery shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD Wakantankan has spoken."

A voice says, "Cry out!"
And I said, What shall I cry?
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the LORD Wakantankan blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word voice of our God Wakantankan will stand sound forever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion People, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem  People, herald messenger of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah Seven Tribes,
"Here is your God! Grandfather!"
See, the Lord GOD Great Mystery, Wakantancan comes with might strength,
and his arm rules for him is strong;
his reward is gifts are with him,
and his recompense generosity before him.
He will feed his flock people like a shepherd Tatankan (Great Buffalo);
he will gather the lambs children in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom chest,
and gently lead the mother sheep those who care for the generations to come.
Or, of course, there is this (From Acts 13):
Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:

"You Israelites Tribes, and others who fear God, listen. The God of Grandfather this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt in the Reservations, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. For about forty years many generations he put up with them in the wilderness. After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan those who oppressed them and stole their land, he gave them their land as an inheritance for about four hundred fifty years many generations.
See what I mean? Hear it from the other side....

Oppressors beware. Repent. Turn from your ways. (It is John the Baptists Day --c'mon.)

Or, there is always the blatant language of this (Luke 1 about verse 57):
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel Wakantancan,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior warrior for us
in the house of his servant David tribes of Gall, Sitting Bull and the others,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant promise,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham ancestors,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness humbleness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet visioner of the Most High Great Mystery;
for you will go before the Lord the Itancan (the Leader) to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God Grandfather,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Hey God, it's margaret. On this day that the People I love and serve remember those who worked to save them in days past, and remember those who are to come and right the wrongs they still suffer, help me to walk with humility, that I may not perpetuate the oppression, but instead be ever aware of and a servant of your reconciling love --guide our feet into the way of peace. Amen.

Yesterday, a small girl came up to me and we talked some holy talk --and then I asked, 'Do you know what covenant means?' She shook her head. And I said, 'It means promise.' And her eyes got big --because there we were --at a turn in the road called Promise, between Black Foot and White Horse....

'I live in Promise,' she said. Thrilled.

Yes, yes dear sweet innocent child. Yes. Exactly.