February 16: On the Shoulders of Ancestors

Used with permission by author. Source: https://www.larryjent.org

Mark 1:1-3

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— 3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

Where did your story begin?

Here in America, we have a peculiar heresy of individualism. The popular myth is that we are self-made individuals. We don’t owe anything to the ancestors—the saints who came before us. We earned everything for ourselves.

The Gospel of Mark is very clear: the good news of Jesus Christ starts with John. The ministry of the Messiah begins with a spiritual heritage—a pedigree of the soul. Jesus stood upon the shoulders John.

Whose shoulders do you stand upon?

In our Christian tradition we say that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, cheering us on (Hebrews 12:1). In our Native traditions, we say the ancestors are doing the same.

According to the Apostles’ Creed, we believe in the communion of the saints. We are not cut off from the ones who have gone on ahead of us to glory. The same God who holds us in His hand, now holds them in His everlasting arms.

According to most Native traditions, we are not cut off from our ancestors. They cheer us on in the wind. They visit us in dreams. They speak to us in visions.

But how long has it been since you remembered those who lifted you up on their shoulders? When was the last time you felt their presence?

Today God is reminding you that you don’t have to make this journey alone. Take time to honor your loved ones by listening for them. Remember the ones who are cheering you on to the finish line. When you remember the ones who prepared the way for you, then you will be able to see further and reach higher than ever before.

O God, forgive me for thinking I got this far by my own power. Remind me of those who gave so much to prepare the way. Let me hear their voices again, and let me join their unending song.

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