The clouds are thick and low here today --I guess it would be fog. It's 35F too --so, it's thick really cold low clouds. We paid a guy who came asking for a job --he picked up all the trash in the yard for us, and cleaned out our rain gutters on the roof. This morning --despite the 30mph winds last night that brought more trash into the yard, he is a saint in my book --going up on the roof like that, so I don't have to.
And I don't like --as a matter of fact I detest the differentiation between All Saints and All Souls in the calendar. How dare we discriminate between good, better, best. In all honesty, with the story of the widow's mite --we can't, we shouldn't. With the last being first and the first being last --we can't, we shouldn't. The nameless and forgotten who gave all and are only remembered fleetingly in the prayers on All Souls are more of an example for me than those with weighty visions and roofs over their heads.
And, I am of a mind to say that I don't give one pahooty about whether or not Halloween has roots in a pagan holiday or whether it is a Christian holiday or what. If we are painfully honest about anything we do in liturgy --including sharing bread and wine --it's ALL based in another Tradition.... But, we, as Christians, can open our eyes and see the Presence of Christ and a vision of the Kingdom anywhere, any time, any how. In any thing or event or whatever.
Perhaps that can be seen as religious imperialism... but I certainly don't mean it that way. I know it can be used that way, and so it is a very narrow, dangerous road --not to be walked alone....
That beg/borrow/steal is a huge cultural clash here. Native Traditionalists have forbidden any wacicus from participating in any ceremony because then the ceremony is taken and used in ways unintended. I understand that --and support them in that decision, as difficult as it may be. And, Native Christians here have been taught in decades past that any thing "Indian" is NOT Christian --and therefor drums or sage or eagle feathers or Lakota songs and the like are not allowed in church. There are hints of change... but it's going to be slow. And the graves of faithful Christians are marked with crosses and Four Direction Circles with wooden feathers (icons of eagle feathers, I guess) hanging every which way.... overlapping cultures and expressions of religious mannerisms among the dead is far more acceptable.
I, myself, am careful not to use any cultural or Traditional Lakota ways. Now is not the time for any old white lady to even think about it.... But if someone requests them, say at a funeral, I do my utmost to make them welcome. I mean, it is God's house, after all....
But the argument about what is or isn't Christian, what is or isn't holy, what is or isn't cultural is very present here.
All I can say is that from where I sit, the Lakota Traditions are not in conflict with Christianity --they are definitely NOT the same, but they are not in conflict.... and perhaps, one day....
There is much I see here that would be healthy for the main-stream church to adopt... and perhaps, one day....
In the meantime, we live in to the tension. And I am very comfortable with Grace. And don't give one pahooty --or, well, a correction in my own thoughts --maybe, in a more feminist fashion, we should give credit where credit is due, and find a theological statement about cultural borrowing and seeing Christ in all, through all, by all.... and just get over it. Because there is nothing classically full-blood Christian.
Except, perhaps, to say that sin is forgiven even before you ask, and redemption and grace are given even before one is aware....
--but in a time when sin is not spoken of or even acknowledged as such, how do we begin?
I am reminded --We are still watching Korean dramas on the computer (because we have no cable for tv --too expensive) --and the cultural differences are marvelous. One of the things that I have been pondering is the readiness and the ease with which the 'good guys' kneel and say, 'please forgive me. It's all my fault' whether it is all their fault or not.... You can tell they are 'good guys' when they do this because the 'bad guys' always try to make up excuses or explain what went wrong. It's been interesting... and I have wondered how the acknowledgment of 'something gone wrong' would play out in our National life --or at least in the Church....
--but, with law suits and legal stuff and personnel stuff, we can't really confess that things have gone wrong and take the burden of it.... --even though that is Gospel.
At prayer this morning (Luke 1:78-79)
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
and.... (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
We Borrow. We Beg. We Steal. We use anything and everything to get to the point: God has pitched a tent among us, and loves us, and delights in us... and our sins are forgiven, thrown as far away from us as east is to west.
And thank you God for all those who have gone before us. May they pray for us. Each in their own way. Each to your glory.
Because, you Father, Creator, Wakan Takan (Holy Mystery), Tankasila (Grandfather) --you are our source and our end, no matter the expressions or temper of our faith.
Huh --looky there... the throne is empty (look at that nifty shelf! what's that about?) --and Joel says that is Wisdom or maybe the Church right above Jesus.... I think that must be Mary and Joseph around Jesus's shoulders, and Mary Magdalene in red by the throne... I can't read who it is that holds all the souls in the hanky... some of the saints are near naked... and I like it that Jesus sits on the rainbow.... the sun, the moon, the stars in their courses.... wish I could read what's at the bottom center left of the icon...
Image from here. The blog is not intended for the likes of me... but for confessional Anglican remnants in the Episcopal Church, and ACNA and CANA and all them types.... Oh well. All in God's good time....
--can't help but say it --Jesus almost looks pregnant, what with that round little belly....
Ahhhhhh.... see... I'm bad. Sorry.
The temperature is dropping outside... nothing worse than frozen fog....
--and this afternoon, I have to go take pictures of a house the church owns... and it's been really really trashed by the former residents.... It's going to have to be stripped down to the studs and remade.... How am I going to deal with that in a Gospel fashion? (Do I hold the former residents liable --like they could do anything anyway.... Is it righteous just to forgive and forget? How do I get the house back in livable condition? I had to evict them... and now this... I hate mess like this....) Hey God, it's margaret --Gospel vision please.