May 8, 2016

When you arise in the morning,

give thanks for the morning light,

for your life and strength.

Give thanks for your food

and the joy of living.

If you see no reason for giving thanks,

the fault lies in yourself.

                          Tecumseh, Cherokee Chief

This poem is in a little book of Native American prayers and poetry we purchased a number of years ago on a trip through the Smokey Mountains. Part of the highway we drove on was close to the "Trail of Tears" of the Cherokee people, the path of their forced relocation from their homes in North Carolina to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.

Reading the spiritual thoughts of these First People, the universal nature of human beings need to connect with the Creator of all is very clear. Its striking how many of these images and emotions are also expressed in our Bible, a number in the Book of Psalms, as God is praised and thanked for the beauty of creation, his never-failing love and protection, and for the gift of life itself.

God makes it possible for the people of his creation to come to know him in more ways than we likely realize, as he understands that each individual hears, sees, and comprehends in a unique fashion. Because God knows and understands how to reach our hearts, we are able to experience a personal relationship with him, as well as to feel that connection through Christ, who lived among us in human form, Whether written by the shepherd boy who became a king in the ancient days of Israel, or spoken by a North American Native leader, we easily see more similarities than differences. Its good for us to be reminded that God speaks to us across cultures, generations, and borders. We just have to be ready to listen.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?                                          (Psalm 8:3,4)

As we enjoy these beautiful spring mornings, may each of us take a moment to give thanks for a new day, for the possibilities it holds, and to know that with God, all things are possible.

Your friend in Christ,

Mary Rogers

From St Andrew Lutheran Church