Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota.
One thing I appreciate about the Baboons is our tolerance for one another’s opinions and beliefs. Oh, sure, we have our occasional tiff, with brief howling and hurling of poo, but after a bit we regroup and run happily together down the Trail to the next topic.
I have long wanted to post this, but hesitated, with the hesitation that many people have when discussing their religious beliefs. I know most Baboons are quite spiritual, some in less traditional ways, but spiritual and thoughtful. I have trust that the Baboon community will consider this in the spirit in which it is intended (which is to elicit comment and discussion).
I am privileged to be a member of a committee of the western ND Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that approves people who wish to become rostered leaders in the church. This means that if you want to be an ELCA pastor in western ND, you have to jump through a whole lot of hoops and have the qualities that we need for our clergy leaders. Anyone can go to seminary, but if you want to be called and ordained, you need our blessing. This means that we walk with applicants for several years, attending to and encouraging their growth and maturation, even those who start the process later in life. Some start very later in life, but the process is still the same.
It always fascinates and moves me the first time we meet with an applicant. They are frequently teary. They have incredible faith stories and are so relieved to take the first step to answer what sometimes has been an internal urging that they have tried to ignore for years, but find that they cannot. Some have had incredible heartbreak and trauma, but persevere to answer what they hear as a direct call from God to serve the Church. After one particularly moving interview, a fellow member of the committee said to me “The Holy Spirit was in the room with us tonight”. That statement made the hair stand up on my neck, for I knew that she was right, and let me tell you, the thought of kind of makes me stop and feel humble.
After our June meeting last summer, I left Bismarck and travelled to the Twin Buttes Pow wow in Twin Buttes, ND. We have dear friends from Twin Buttes who are tribal members, and the Pow wow is always so much fun with them. I love watching the Grand Entrance and all the dancers in their gorgeous costumes and intricate dance steps. In the center of the Pow wow grounds is a pole that the dancers circle around, counter-clockwise. Our friend’s mom, now passed, had brain cancer for years, and her only request each year was to see the pole and get pushed up to the pole in her wheelchair so she could touch it. She was also a devout Christian, but that pole was also sacred to her.
It is fun to walk around the pow wow grounds to see the vendors, and the people. I notice children and adults tapping their feet to the rhythms of the drum circles, hearing the traditional songs, also sacred, and I am reminded that the sacred is all around us, in meeting rooms and on pow wow grounds, in churches and in our everyday encounters.
Where do you find the sacred in your life?