NO PIPE WITHIN………………A CHALICE, BATHED IN THE BLOOD OF OUR PEOPLE
ALTAR AT ST.IGNATIUS ON THE FLATHEAD REZ
Sometimes when hiking about I have found myself in an area that seems so remote as to be primeval, and entertain a momentary thought that maybe it is a place no one has been before-but then reality and the understanding sets in that it is doubtful so much as a single place exists that hasn’t felt the footsteps of man, heard his voice, the voices of women and children, witnessed their comforts and afflictions.
It is an innocent little fantasy though, a momentary daydream that then leads to wondering about those who passed through before.
What were they like, where were they going? Were they on the hunt-did they live or seek shelter nearby? Were they pursuers or being pursued?
Did they view their surroundings with the same appreciation and awe as I do? The same wonder?
Sometimes evidence is found-a dime size shard of pottery, a large flat rock where a few flakes may be found left from the making of arrowheads, even a meticulously crafted bird point on one occasion.
But I leave such things as they lay-because they belong to the land now and the memory of other children it gave birth to-a mother’s mementos, keepsakes perhaps to be stumbled upon but never to be taken, never to be stolen.
I think there is a value in examining such things-something to learn and appreciate,and in safeguarding them, but who would take that lock of hair, an old toy, a mother they know may have saved and in doing so violate the memories?
And what of the living memories of earlier children, the uncontacted tribes that are seen as an impediment, novelties, that stand in the way of progress and greed?
When the connection to the land is broken, either by choice or force, it is the first step in a journey to decline-for indigenous people this foreign version of civilization has been anything but progress, it is increasingly making orphans and caricatures of us.
Not just us, but everyone should ask themselves what is civilization?
Is it an orderly community living harmoniously within it’s environment, or concrete buildings, wires and pipes running everywhere, the noise and stress of it all, smog, blaring boom boxes, genocide, and being surrounded in the majority by nameless faces you will never know?
Is it, has it been, the burning of books, Inquisitions, polgroms, toxins, polluted ground water, never ending wars, and nuclear waste?
The dependency upon others for lighting, heat, water, clothing,food, or even the ability to travel?
We have always had an awareness of time-the passage of days and seasons- we’ve lived and been influenced according to them-but never down to the hour and minute-never so controlled by the second, minute, or hour hand- the date on the calendar.
Never having to wait for the first of the month to roll around so we can eat or pay those bills that define us as hostages to a system referred to as civilization.
But then here we all find ourselves…civilized, and trying to make the best of it. No longer savages, saved from ourselves to endure a greater savagery.
Delivered by the hands of Christian soldiers marching off to war…..hallelujah and thank you Jesus-when do the good times begin-how far are we from the land of milk and honey?
Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war
With the cross of Jesus going on before
Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng
Blend with ours your voices in a triumph song
“join our happy throng”
If there are Christians reading this and they take offense I would say if they bear no personal responsibility they shouldn’t-if they do then their offense has no value.