By The Rev.
[PHOTO: Oceti Sakowin camp at the northernmost end of Standing Rock Reservation on the banks of the Missouri River. I took this photo before a group of 527 registered clergy protested in solidarity with the First Nations people gathered at this site.]
It’s a day of remembering.
And as I remember, I think of the stories of the ancestors who taught so many lessons.
One of the lessons they teach is the one that is echoed in the story of the Beatitudes in which Jesus says, “Blessed are you.”
“Blessed are you,” the ancestors chant because they need us to remember that we are fully blessed by God.
And there’ll be times when we might be convinced of something different.
They say “Blessed are you” and Jesus says “Blessed are you” because they will persecute you and they will revile you and they will harm you for my namesake, Jesus said.
Blessed are you when they tell you who you are is not right, that you have to change yourself and who you love to be beloved by God. Blessed are you.
Blessed are you when you know, you know that your life is full of blessings and yet it feels like justice is so far away.
Blessed are you when they send you off to lose who you are to boarding school, if you are a native person. To take the savage out of you and save the man. Blessed are you because that is not of God.
Blessed are you even if you were subject to the Church’s doctrine of discovery which said that we could take everything we wanted in Jesus’ name. Jesus says no, because blessed are you.
Blessed is this earth.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
But there has to be an earth left for them to inherit.
Blessed are you.
Blessed are you, and that comes with responsibility.
So, as we remember the blessings in this day of remembrance, as we hear the ancestors chant our blessings, may we remember too that we have an Earth to protect. The Earth that we want our children’s children so the infinity generations to hold and to love and to cherish. Blessed are you. Now what will you do you?