Black Elk > Oglala Sioux Medicine man.
“But now that I can see it all as from a lonely hilltop, I know it was the story of a mighty vision given to a man to weak to use it;…”
As I shared in episode #1 the great vision set before me, my mountain to climb in my old age, I so feel the words of this Indian wise man. I am so excited about the growing move of God in this spiritual wave we have given a label of “Micro-Church”. I see a growing wave still far out at sea but rolling this way, and I want to be a part of it! It’s building as it rolls. It’s growing into a fresh move of God. It can be called a 2nd Reformation for surely that is how it feels to us who have become sickened with a prosperity message, a “king theology”, and traditions of man! We’re coming out!
But at the age of almost 64, how much of this wave can I still ride? Is this a vision given to a man to weak? And yet, I have to believe, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD!
As I write these words we just got very bad news on my sister who is three years younger than I. It was only supposed to be one artery 70% blocked. A simple stint was supposed to fix it. She would be out of hospital next day. But as we drove to visit her and celebrate a successful procedure, my phone rang. Her husband gave me the new report. 5 blockages! Main artery 90%. Another artery 70%. Transferring to a different hospital. Major open heart surgery. We wait for a doctor and surgery date.
I’ve been aware my whole life how heart disease, diabetes, and colitis runs in my family tree in a big way. We do seem to escape the “C” word for the most part. My only sibling developed the type 1 diabetes very young. And now the heart disease. I’ve had the colitis most my life, but very mild compared to my mom. Still… our days are numbered and how well we know. Most my grandparents died in their sixties. We do not live in denial, but we trust God in all things. So yes, at my age the vision God has given me looks quite large, like a huge mountain, but life would be so much less interesting without it!
I was 61 as I hiked that mountain path that day, the one now called Black Elk Trail, and I didn’t even know who he was, but I knew I was going to find out. I had been 41 when I hiked it before, twenty years ago, and believe me, I noticed a slight difference, but the joy was just as great!
It was just me and the Lord that whole day. I asked him how his Church had become such a place about money, and more business like than family oriented, when He had been so against hoarding money, and was totally non-materialistic! How do rich pastors preach from luxurious platforms about the man who had nothing, and called us to lay aside our kingship for a time, and be servants!? To live a life rich in love and sacrifice! How do we justify all this? I could make no sense of it.
I hiked all the way up Black Elk Trail to that small mountain fortress at the top. I was there earlier than the normal tourist season and had the whole place to myself. The weather was awesome! It was a shifting swirling thing! Bright sunshine and warmth for a few minutes, then clouds and snow blowing for a few! It was totally inspiring as I ate my food at the top, shared some of it with 2 ground squirrels and a Jaybird of some sort. And God spoke to me as only he does, and gave me a strange phrase: “The path of the white feather.” I have kept those words in my heart ever since. I pondered those words as the elements shifted back and forth around me.
I spent an hour or so at the top. Offered up prayer and worship. Came down out of the mountain and drove back to town where I found an old bookstore. They had a very nice copy of “Black Elk Speaks”. I was very excited as I bought it!
When I got back to the hotel I did not waste any time opening it up, and soon found this man before my time, speaking of the “darkness in men’s eyes”. I was amazed at how simple and true his words were, and wondered why our preachers today seem to lack that? The words of Jesus are simple and true, too. The path of the white feather. I had come to South Dakota to get away in nature, seek simplicity, hear God, and God was showing me a path I would never leave.
I may have left the Black Hills, but my feet had been set to a spiritual path leading to a move of God I was unaware of. Little have I known. (To be continued.)