Thinking of yesterday’s reflection on “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” as an invitation for us to think about the costs of our own consumption and our need to weigh what we really want, what truly is life-giving not just for us but for all, in the balance of our life choices, I remembered an experience when I was pastoring in Robeson County and was blessed to visit a Lumbee Pow-Wow out toward Maxton I believe. Meeting and hearing the stories of those gathered, including the rich history of the people of the First Nations in Robeson County, NC, my heart was deeply moved. I thought of all the beauty and wisdom still present in those cultures and how much poorer our world is that my ancestors took from this earth, from their ancestors and others, and really from me as well so much heartlessly without learning to make room for the lessons those cultures taught and for the richness of nature they encountered to remain for future generations. They mixed up want and need at great cost. I wrote the following poem while reflecting on that lesson. I hope it opens you up more fully to the difficult questions of how we can resist the temptations they feel into and more fully choose what brings wholeness to all people and all creation.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
A Cemetary for Two Civilizations
All around me lies an asphalt tombstone etched by native tears
where once green and lush lay an earthen womb
surrounded now with no somber silence to mark the passing years
echoing instead with acoustic assaults which resound from our technologic tomb,
tribal chants transformed into honk of horns and screech of tires.
No aromatic potpourri adorns its cracked and aging shape
but smog rising in place of the sage smoke of ancestral fires
while acid rain showers down in rivers that will not drown that scene of cosmic rape
where mingled as one the voices of our ancients and theirs with the Great Spirit weep.