It’s strange how my story of Church would go back to this guy, Black Elk. I mentioned in my last article how “once upon a time” I left the modern Church system in spiritual frustration at the complexity of it all and took a nine day vacation to the Black Hills to pray and listen for the leading of God. I needed clarity and direction. I needed some answers from God.
I did not know what to expect on that trip, as to how God would give me those answers. But now, what I received there, has led to a vision I began pursuing then, and still pursue today. That vision has become development of a Micro-Church, this Blog site, a prayer garden and free laundry mat from my home, a spiritual retreat in the country, and now the challenge of developing a Podcast to share our Fellowship.
In this continued journey, many words of a native Indian I never knew, or knew of, until those nine days, has become more and more meaningful to me. Today I would like to share this quote from him, from a book called: “Black Elk Speaks”. It is a “partial” quote because I want to focus on a certain “point” of his statement, and I wonder how many of you might feel the same way he did, in the words he spoke. I know I do.
“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 too weak to use it;…” Black Elk
We may slowly share the rest of his words eventually, for they are so rich, and fit our spiritual drama of this modern day. When I left the religious system to go searching, I knew nothing of Micro-Churches, but my soul was very hungry for something, and as I sought God for answers, I began following those answers one step at a time. Soon we developed a small Fellowship around what we began to see as obvious in God’s Word, and early Church history. Then further down the road I began hearing of Micro-Churches and discovered that was basically what we had already become, without even knowing!
How God led me to the book containing the words of this man is interesting, and as I look back on it, it happened just the way I have learned to be aware of God’s voice. Our nine day trip to South Dakota only had time for so many things, as it is in this mortal world. I had a rough idea of places I wanted to go, as we had vacationed there once before, like twenty years before. I wanted to revisit some places, and explore some new. But one place that was special to me did not fit the schedule, no matter how I tried to work it.
It is called “Harney Peak”. The highest point in South Dakota. A beautiful trail climbing into the mountain leads to that peak. I went there twenty years ago and wanted to do so again, but there was no time if my wife and I were going to reach a point farther west we had picked out. I can’t even remember the name of it now.
We never reached that westward point, because we revisited “Crazy Horse Monument”, only planning on spending a couple hours, but got so caught up there that we both did not want to leave! We spent several hours there, and a town close to it. We both realized we were sacrificing our plan, but we also realized God had a plan and that was the real reason we were there! God was speaking!
So as it were we gained an extra day in the Black Hills and I suddenly realized I could use that day to go alone, up that lonely path, to the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains. It’s elevation is 7,244 feet. But the weird thing was, every time I tried to find information on the path leading to the peak, I kept finding something called “Black Elk Trail”. This is not what it had been called twenty years ago. As a matter of fact, I learned the name had been changed just before I got there! And who was Black Elk? Why did God have this trail name changed just before I would arrive seeking answers? My brain began whirling with possibilities. And I knew early the next day, I was headed to hike that trail and relive a climb I made twenty years before, but what would that path speak to me now? And continues to speak more and more loudly each day?
I want to do justice to who Black Elk was, and also my experience that day, and where it leads me today. So we will continue our story next episode. To be continued.