Recently I was asked to participate in a Native Cultural Camp.
The aim of the camp was to provide insight to those outside of the native community how the native culture works and what they value. The elder communicated many examples through the use of story telling. I was struck by the number of close parallels of those stories to what God’s word reveals to the world. One example was his account of the set up of the “Sun Dance” ceremony where men are in the inner core area, women and children are assigned another area and non native peoples remain on the outside of the structure. Women in their “special time of the month” were to be excluded. Sure sounds like a pattern off the Jewish temple. Then he spoke about family structure how the man was the leader of the family unit, women were the nurturers of children and the man would ultimately lay down his life to protect the family.
There were parallels to Egypt who had beliefs in the sun, locust, bulls and so on. The elder spoke of spirits within trees, sun, animals etc. This elder advised there was only one true God for all peoples of the earth. His teaching advised first nation people present an offering to God …”tobacco” before praying for family, health etc. Here was a man who was emotional, sincere and driven to make things better for his culture. A culture characterized by suffering people who are beat down, facing alcohol and drug abuse and family violence. He desired to build strategies for motivation, spiritual, mental well being. He talked about forgiveness and how it is important to move on.
Some of the listeners appeared to be engrossed with his accounts, but I could not help but bring to mind an important Scriptural principle. God states that “many will say Lord Lord, we have done many wonderful works in your name” but they will not enter into heaven and Jesus will in fact say he never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus also states that wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction and many be on it while narrow is the way which leads to life and few be on it (Matthew 7:13,14).
The elders hope was to bring back all these spiritist, animist belief systems to rally his people and fix their lives. Wow it really is important to get it right…
WHO DO YOU REALLY WORSHIP?
Jesus is very clear on this point that we are to embrace him as Lord and Saviour…come on reach out to people and share the light and truths you have.