Posted tagged ‘Gitche Gumme’

OBEYING THE COMMAND

August 28, 2016

laksup

A few posts ago I wrote about Hiawatha’s father,    who, after staging a great challenge for his son,   told his son to go back to his home,   go back to the living earth  and “cleanse”  the earth of the evil things that prevent a good life for us humans.

Mudjekeewis  told Hiawatha:

I have put you to this trial
So to know and prove your courage;
 Now receive the prize of valor:
Go back to your home and people.
Live among them, toil among them,
Cleanse the Earth from all that harms it . . .

 “Cleanse the earth from all that harms it . .  .”

reading   It’s been an interesting coincidence that recent Sunday Readings given to Christians for the past many centuries have told us to do this same thing!      Perhaps the source is the same:  God is God and there is only One and He doesn’t change,  so it makes sense that wise men have similar messages to give us.

So what are these things we’re supposed to cleanse our earth from if we are properly led by the (Great)  Spirit?

They’re listed in our Readings,  from the Bible,  last week:   Galatians 5:    But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury,  Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects,    Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.

This week’s Readings explains this further,  and then says:  “But let every man prove his own works….”     This is a manly command.

We want a better world?  Then we need to make a better Self.    And that list in Galatians shows us the things we need to get rid of in our own lives and in our own surroundings.

Obey the Command.    It’s a good one.

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GITCHE MANITO: ONE OF TWO WORLDS

August 21, 2016

Sometimes when I hear an idea,  it strikes deep inside me like a heavy gong –  and then comes an explosion of ideas – like fireworks going off every which way .

And as the “fireworks”  settle down they sort themselves out into something resembling a beautiful Bach harpsichord concerto.

Harpsi

A beautiful experience.   I had a friend once who built harpsichords . . .     —   but   I need to rein in some of those fireworks.

Har Music

I’m trying to  capture some of my thoughts and bring them to a point – or  at least some kind of whole, like a conductor’s score, bringing together the many voices into one theme around which many thoughts rotate.

Our brains do work like this.   we just need to take the time to let our thoughts “rattle around” against each other, like the finale in a fireworks show, and then wait until we can catch echoes of the concerto – or sometimes,   the fugue!

The Two Worlds:    One world offers us Time and the development of a concert.    In the other world,  we stuff too many things into Time,  and what develops is dis-concert-ing

So, today is Sunday:

Har mass in

I didn’t go there!  But after the Ancient and Time-Tested  Prayers,  the Readings,  the Sermon, and the (re)presentation of the One Sacrifice,  it felt like I had been there – and I was filled with . . .   lively thoughts,  from what I had heard and seen.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these other things will be added unto you. . . ,”   we heard today.     Ancient  time-tested words of wisdom from our Master.     We have two worlds presented to us:   a world in which God is first,  and we seek Him  in His Kingdom;  and a world in which we seek all kinds of “these other things.”

Actually, as  a historian  (non-professional!)  I can tell you:  Thus has it ever been so.  The two worlds.     In our computer age, surely we can understand bits and bytes,  ones and zeroes . . .

har bits

. . . .  yes or no,  this world or that world.

Oh, we have Time to stumble around a bit,  but in the end even our stumbling  evidences  a choice of one world or the other.    Even in the pre-Christian religions men understood the choice that has been given us.

Remember the movie Apocalypto?    Gentle, peaceful dwellers of the jungles of Central America, living at ease and in harmony with their surroundings.    Then come the violent “Mayans,”   a sophisticated, advanced culture which had descended over time into a stratified caste society of the humans who were  powerful, wealthy Rulers;  the humans who were obedient workers;  and the humans who were slated for bloody and horrific sacrifice,  in order, the Rulers thought,  to keep their society powerful.     They sought the things of a world that was other than the Creator’s world.

(I’ve just purchased, in order to re-read,  Columbus’s Log Book, with an added journal from one of the sailors in a later voyage who was one of the hundreds captured by these Mayans.  He tells his harrowing tale of being in a line of captives advancing towards the place of sacrifice . . .  It is the stuff of nightmares.)

Well, there you have it.  Again:  two worlds.

And so this morning I remembered my vacation to Hiawatha’s land of  Gitche Gumme:

Har GG

(My priest would be quite surprised if he knew he had flung me into Gitche Gumme this morning…)

In Hiawatha’s land the two worlds manifest themselves.   Gitche Manito, our Father, in pre-Christian thought, looks down upon His human creations:

Gitche Manito, the Mighty,
The Creator of the nations,
Looked upon them with compassion,
With paternal love and pity;
Looked upon their wrath and wrangling,
But as quarrels among children,
But as feuds and fights of children!

Over them He stretched His right hand
To subdue their stubborn natures,
To allay their thirst and fever .  . .

Har G Manito in clouds

But Man can resist the paternal hand of his Creator.    And he does, quite easily and quite often.       So we must choose the Creator’s world, one at a time, one by one, each setting his mind on our Creator’s world and not on “all these things” of this world which causes our “thirst and fevers.”

Sometimes a brave young man responds to the good teachings of Gitche Manito,  even if he doesn’t at first know what the source is.    It is the search for Truth that brings rewards:  “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”

The seeking starts with serious and sober attention to becoming skilled and educated:

Out of childhood into manhood
Now had grown my Hiawatha,
Skilled in all the craft of hunters
Learned in all the lore of old men,
In all youthful sports and pastimes,
In all manly arts and labors.

With all this training Hiawatha still sought after Truth.    He wanted the truth from his father, Mudjekeewis,  now dead,   now dwelling in the land of the West-Wind,  among all the old fathers,  who now had Truth.

Har hia

Although warned not to go  on such a quest,  Hiawatha set off and “traveled”  far past many  known boundaries, poetically and beautifully told by the pen of H.W. Longfellow.   Then at last “Filled with joy was Mudjekeewis when he looked on Hiawatha.”

 

But it is not an easy time for Hiawatha,  this seeker of the Creator’s Truth, and he’s put to many dangerous tests and learns many disappointing, dismaying,  terrible, tragic Truths and is eventually brought to the point of attempting to kill this “father” of his.

(Oh – back to  Bach’s harpsichord  for a moment:   the dramatic, discordant movements of a concerto speak to the truth of the Theme also.)

How deadly and dramatic is our life’s fighting for the Truth!!   All nature depends upon mankind’s search for Truth in the Kingdom of God.

Here is a fight worth witnessing!

Then began the deadly conflict
Hand to hand among the mountains.
From his eyry screamed the eagle,
The Keneu, the great war-eagle
Sat upon the crags around them,
Wheeling, flapped his wings above them.

 

The Bible, also poetically,  says that the whole Earth is groaning and in travail,  waiting for the Kingdom of God:  (Romans 8:22)

Till the Earth shook with the tumult
And confusion of the battle,
And the air was full of shoutings,
And the thunder of the mountains . .  ..

Well, that’s Longfellow again,  but he’s saying the same thing as the Bible.

At last Hiawatha prevails!   He is about to strike the death-blow when Mudjekeewis calls out:

Hold!  at length cries Mudjekeewis.
Hold my son, my Hiawatha!
‘Tis impossible to kill me,
For you cannot kill the immortal.

I have put you to this trial
So to know and prove your courage;
 Now receive the prize of valor:
Go back to your home and people.
Live among them, toil among them,
Cleanse the Earth from all that harms it . . .

With courage and perseverance,  Hiawatha has prevailed  in his life-and-death quest for Truth.     He sought the Other World,  he has seen the Other World,  and he has received his command to “cleanse”  the Earth.

I hope, I wish,  I want us in our times to be as brave and manly as Hiawatha was in his times,   because there are still two worlds;   two worlds to choose and to develop.    “Seek first the Kingdom of God . . .”   then – but only then –  all the other “good things”   will come to you.   It’s an orientation of primacy:  bits and bytes,  this or that,   God’s things or “the other things.”

In the quietness and stillness inside our church today,   there I was,  watching the mighty battle of Hiawatha while the harpsichord  played a Bach concerto in my ears . . . .

 

 

DESTINATION – WHERE HIAWATHA LIVES

July 21, 2016

The Spruce Tunnel has reported many times that our Land,  this USA, is so empty.  One can drive for hours without seeing anyone, and many times during this past week I’ve been the only car in my lane for a half hour, sometimes  an hour at a time:

Hour W out cars

HIAWATHA’S LAND:

But it  is  beautiful in the Far Far North where Hiawatha lived (lives).

GG Driving Island  Sunlight through the forest,  Nature speaks deep within you with concepts of Beauty:   colors, pleasing proportions,  compositions, contrasts, harmony . . .  all the classic elements of Beauty, which testifies to its Creator.

GG Driving 2 400

Curve after curve,  Hiawatha’s forest views.

But of course he didn’t have a car to ride in!  So I went into the forest –

GG Forest floor 400

Ferns on the forest floor.    Easy walking, because ferns aren’t really thick underbrush.  They’re very soft when you walk through them.

GG Forest path and wild 400I found pathways.   I’ve walked miles along these pathways during this past week.   All the time I was thinking about Hiawatha’s small village,  one of many, many, maybe countless villages that existed throughout this Land.    Many millions of people lived in this Land, long before the Vikings and the Italian exploreres came to it.

I kept “seeing”  these villages:

BR new goods

And wondering who was “seeing” me:

BR coming

Hiawatha’s forest was not only a location, of course,  an “address” for his home;  it also gave to them everything needed to sustain life.

GG Forest Deer 400I drove by these deer one afternoon.   Probably descendants of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century deer that provided many necessities for Hiawatha and his people.

I couldn’t help taking a picture of this:

GG Forest Birch

We all know that the white birch  has bark that is stripped off to make canoes.  What I learned this time is that each strip of bark has five, six, or seven layers, and each thin layer is waterproof and very strong,  perfect for making  a lake or river canoe, among other things.

GG Canoes from Birch When I was a child I tried making a small toy boat with birch bark.  I also tried making “paper”  with the birch bark.   I failed.   I really didn’t know about the “layers”  in a strip of birch.

But it was important to know these things for Hiawatha because his land borders the Great Gitche Gumme,  and I walked many pathways to get to that Lake.

GG Forest Edge Path 400

If you could see across that Lake,  you would see the shores of Canada.

Gitche Gumme claims the land, in a constant tussle between land and water.

GG Forest Edgge Dropoff 400

The pathway along the edge seemed to be about a half mile long.  Finally,  I got to my destination,  the destination for this whole week-long, more-than-400-mile journey:

Black Rocks 400

It’s here.  This was my destination.    It’s an area called Black Rocks,  a singularly unromantic name for an outcropping of “rock”  that is estimated to be 1.3 billion years old.  This is some of the oldest known rocks on the surface of the earth.

On the shores of Gitche Gumme
By the shining Big-Sea-Waters

Yeah,  here is where I needed to be,  I thought.    These were the first waters I saw at the very beginning of my life . . .  and now,  with the end in view,   I needed to see these waters again.

Black Rocks into lake.

It was the end of land of the Far Far North in view, anyway.

Black Rocks far 400I climbed all around Black Rocks,  and finally looked for a place to sit.

Black Rocks Seat

And I did it.   I found a good rock ledge to sit on and I put my camera away, and then I began to . . .  well,  brood.   I divided my life into five-year segments . . . .

And, well . . .  with each and every scene from my memory huge wounds of negative emotions leapt out at me.    Private, powerful emotions.

It would have been tough that day . . .  it would have been a tough whole life . . .  but for one thing.     With each sudden emotional blow,  I asked myself,   “Well,  what did God want me to learn from this hardness?”     And why is it that each emotional “blow” I felt seemed really rather feeble in my memory?    And how is it that I’m not unhappy,  but indeed,  full of hope and joy and love for those whom I know?

“What did God want me to learn…?”    There was a lesson in each stage of my life.   I suppose.    But I wasn’t that broody, actually.   I probably was taught something during each stage, and then incorporated the learning into my assurance that God was in control.

And so I don’t need to know any “answers.”  I don’t need to come to any conclusions.

What I learned from my brief three hours of “brooding”  sitting on those rather hard rocks is that,  in a big way,  I’m not that baby,  that toddler, that child,   that adolescent,  that young adult . . .  anymore.

I am “me”  only in this Present Moment.  That’s all I ever can be:  Me  Now.     I am identified by what I am Now.

In a big way,   what matters is what kind of person I am Now.

Forgiveness  and Forgetfulness available for the past;   hope and healing available for the future.

That’s the way Gitche Manito works.   Ever Present- Ever Now.     What’s NOT to be joyful about?!

I think I actually did reach my “destination.”

Deo gratias.

 

(Next post:  Why Hiawatha knew this too.)

GITCHE MANITO SPEAKS TO US

July 18, 2016

In the spirit of the inspiring speeches that give us purpose in this current presidential election season,  I understand better the words of Gitche Manito –  who of course is our Great Spirit,  Creator of All Peoples,  the God who revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . .   and only many centuries later, to the Native Americans who were looking for the Black Robes of  their legends.

The words of Gitche Manito,  to Hiawatha,  and to us, at our sunrise or at our sunset, for we all live together on one small island world:

3 sea gull island 400

From our Creator, Bountiful and Good,    “. . .with Voice majestic as the sound of far-off waters falling into deep abysses. . .

O My children!  My poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom
Listen to the words of warning
From the lips of the Great Spirit
From the Master of Life, who made you!

I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl
Filled the river s full of fishes;

Such bountiful,  loving care from the One  True God!

My camera caught great beauty  in the skies of Hiawatha’s land,   but within those pink clouds was lightning!   Lightning flashes,  forks of lightning!   I wouldn’t want to be directly under their wrath.

Cloud broad view

 

The Great Father above continues:

Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?

I am weary of your quarrels
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions.

Cloud Pinker

 

All your strength is in your union;
All your danger is in discord.
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.

Live at Peace,  contented where you are:

Cloud Duck Enjoy

 

I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the Nations
Who shall guide you and shall teach you.
Who shall toil and suffer with you.

Gitche Manito speaks to His children.  He spoke to Abraham,  to Isaac, to Jacob,  to Elijah, whose life, along with John the Baptist’s prepared the way for this Great Prophet,  and at last,  the Woman was created, prepared to be the Mother of the Prophet, reflecting the light of her Son’s glory as the moon reflects its sun’s light:

Cloud Pink Moon Alone

 

If you listen to his counsels,
You will multiply and prosper;
If His warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish.

If . . .

If . . .

That means it’s up to us.

Tomorrow I walk the surprisingly pleasant forests that Hiawatha walked.  They still exist.    Hiawatha’s society still exists, with all its complexities and problems.   Hiawatha’s  Great Father Above still exists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GITCHE MANITO SPEAKS ON JULY 17TH

July 17, 2016

The French Revolution was a war against Christianity, Reason,  Logic, Civility, Peace, and Individual Freedom .

July 17th.    Christendom remembers the small group of Carmelite nuns who met their death on July 17, a couple hundred years ago during the French Revolution.

BTR1

Young ladies,  some just teenagers,  quiet, devout, pure and moral, singing a Te Deum in a lovely choir of feminine voices, a choir that got thinner and thinner as the nuns, one by one,  took their place on the guillotine, until one voice was left, and then none.

The painting shows one by one they met their death, passing from this earth to the one at the top of the painting, into the waiting arms of their sisters who had met the guillotine moments before.

Their crime was that their religious faith was different from the “religion”  of the new republic of France which included a new moral code.   New laws, and new interpretations of laws made their faith in Christ a crime.   They had no right to the quiet, personal expression of their faith.

Similar storm clouds on the horizon here in this country too.

Today’s weather:

Cloud Over 1

And, July 17th, today, the latest example in our nation of the hatred against a Christian (and previously Christian )  society.   The shooter in Baton Rouge today  was interested in the Nation of Islam.  Previously, in Nice, France, a man driving a great white truck into crowds shouted out (his)  “god is greater”!    The common cry of Islamist warriors.

Menacing clouds arise:

Cloud Over 2

There will always be July 17th’s ahead.    And other dates too.    Because if we don’t work to spread goodness and to check the evil,  evil will grow.

TWO DAYS IN A ROW up here in the  Land of Hiawatha I was here, in this small private chapel, when strong storms arose outside:

GG chapel indoors 400

The first time there was such a loud crash that I thought a construction crane outside had fallen over on top of the roof of this stone chapel which was located inside of a larger stone cathedral!  I looked up for cracks in the ceiling!

Storm clouds.    Evil on the horizon.    Approaching.

Everyone seems to be talking about “something”  that’s coming.    I don’t know what that could be, but I know it could be a lot of things;  things that have happened before at the hands of evil governments, evil ideologies.

Once, long ago,  Hiawatha turned to Gitche Manito, the Great Spirit-Father above, and he sat and pondered these things seriously.

You shall hear how Hiawatha
Prayed and fasted in the forest
Not for greater skill in hunting,
Not for greater craft in fishing,
Not for triumphs in the battle,
And renown among the warriors,
But for profit of the people,
For advantage of the nations.

First he built a lodge for fasting,
Built a wigwam in the forest
By the shining Big-Sea-Water . . .

For days he prayed and fasted, just as we could do . . .     He thought of all the things around him that are important to his physical well-being and safety, and he cried out:

“Master of Life!” he cried, desponding,
“Must our lives depend on these things?”

Finally, after several days,  Gitche Manito sent to him a strong and handsome youth, “dressed in garments, green and yellow,  coming though the purple twilight, through the splendor of the sunset . . .”

Because Hiawatha had prayed sincerely for the well-being of his fellow man,  and not just for himself,   his prayers had been heard.   Hiawatha will be told how to improve the society that he lives in.

Said this youth, O Hiawatha!
All your prayers are heard in heaven,
For you pray not like the others . . .
But for profit of the people,
For advantage of the nations.

From the Master of Life descending,
I, the friend of man, Mondamin,
Come to warn you and instruct you,
How by struggle and by labor
You shall gain what you have prayed for.
Rise  from your bed of branches,
Rise up and wrestle with me!”

“How by struggle and by labor you shall gain what you have  prayed for. . . .”

Oh, yes, bring our woes and worries to Gitche Manito, the Master of Life.    Go into a chapel or into a wigwam or into your own private room.    Begin with prayer;  begin with praying;  learn to pray if you’re out of practice — but then be prepared to continue your prayers with labor. “By struggle and by labor.”    The Master of Life works through our hands.

This part of the Epoch of Hiawatha then goes on to describe days and days of wrestling with this strange youth, sent from heaven,  to test and to strengthen and prepare Hiawatha for the serious struggles against evil.

(Monamin left a gift for Hiawatha and all his people.   Monamin’s wrestling  had prepared Hiawatha to recognize it.     The gift was “green and yellow” and it  promised peace and plenty for all, because Gitche Manito is really very generous.     You may know what it is or you may not,  but  I won’t name it for you because  it’s just one symbol of the abundance of goodness available for all men,  if we just knew it.)