Monday, December 14, 2009

Gathered from the Four Winds

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:31

In many Native traditions we talk about things spiritual and things relational, all in the context of the four directions. We honor the gifts of each directions, knowing that each direction, with its related winds and weathers, teach us how to live with one another. We understand that each has significant power and gifts and we must respect all of these gifts in order to live in loving respect with our community and with the larger communities around us. When I have participated in multi-tribal worship services, we often use a prayer to the four sacred directions, honoring and inviting all our relations to join us in the gathered circle.

When I read this Gospel from Matthew, I cannot help but think of my Native relations and how Christ's promise for the end of the age is a united family, a restored community where everyone understands themselves as part of one tribe, one family, knit together in love and respect. In this final week of Advent, I am reminded how splintered the world is and how fractured many of our families are, and how many tribes are splintered over ancient disputes. And yet, I am encouraged because God's activity is to bring all of us together, to bind our wounds and to make us one family again.

My prayer for today is that I can honor all of the gifts and people that I encounter today. From the four directions, and very different places, I will encounter differences and strangeness that I can welcome or turn away from. I ask today to be given the strength to welcome all as lost relatives, parts of my extended family, now gathered again. May we all be given God's grace today to know others as family and to honor them with the dignity and honor we give to our own.

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