Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

November 24, 2019: The Reign of Christ

From Sandra Rooney

 

This Sunday, November 24, lies between the U.S. holidays Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. There are connections between the two that generally go unnoticed. Our history is full of ambiguities, memorials and tributes, shame and apologies. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we may think of the debt of gratitude we owe the people who were living in what is now the United States, what they taught us and how they helped the early settlers survive. Or we may not.

 

The same goes for Veterans Day. Earlier this year, Marcella LeBeau, a member of the Lakota nation, was present for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, when more than 100,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of western Europe in an invasion that was the turning point of World War II. LeBeau was there on the D-Day beaches holding her U.S. Army nurse uniform with the French Legion of Honor Medal and her other awards. She, along with many other Native Americans, was part of that heroic undertaking 75 years ago.

 

More recently, there was another remembrance, this one on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, one with an apology. Brad Upton, a descendant of a U.S. Army commander at the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre went to South Dakota to apologize for his ancestor’s role in the killing of hundreds of unarmed Lakota tribe members. Upton told those gathered there that his great-great grandfather, Colonel James Forsyth, was with the 7th Cavalry unit on December 29, 1890. They fired on unarmed Lakota men, women, and children of the banks of Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. More than 300 died in that tragedy and matters were made worse when the federal government awarded 20 medals of honour to the U.S. Army troopers who took part in the massacre. That tragedy still causes cultural and psychological trauma among the Lakota. LeBeau describes the hurt from Wounded Knee that lingers within her people as “a pervasive sadness.”

 

Upton said when he was 16 his great uncle, a West Point career Army officer, sent him pictures of the Lakota corpses at Wounded Knee, indicating that he was proud of it. Upton said he felt “immediate shame and sadness.” Upton is now supporting legislation in Congress, Remove the Stain Act, to rescind the medals.

 

Dena Waloke, a descendant of Ghost Horse, one of those killed at Wounded Knee, says their kids and grandchildren need to know about the massacre but cannot keep “going on with anger.” He says they need to forgive and heal so that the nation, the whites and the Lakota “can all be together, have a better world for our grandchildren. That’s what we think about is our grandchild, not us.”

 

Jim Kent, Lakota Country Times columnist, acknowledges that attempts to amend the historical narrative of the U.S. Army’s role in European settling in the West often faces strong opposition, but there is hope that the Remove the Stain Act will eventually be passed by Congress. In a press release, Rep. Denny Heck, who introduced the House bill on June 25 said, “The slaughter of innocents is not an act of valor, and we must remove the stain of the Wounded Knee Massacre from the Medal of Honor’s prized legacy. We’re 129 years late, but we still can act.”

 

Explore…Colossians 1:11–20

  • Given their circumstances, what do you think “living in the kingdom of Christ” might have meant or the new disciples?
  • What would “living in the kingdom of Christ” mean for you in today’s world? What it would it require of us?
  • Where do you see patience, strength, reconciliation, self-sacrifice and service being lived out?

 

Prayer…

Ever present God, we acknowledge that too often we follow the current of our culture knowing that it is not the way of the kingdom. We pray that we may be patient when patience is required; that we may speak out when speaking out is required; that we may move out of our comfort zone when counter-cultural action is required. Amen.

 

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