Handing Enmegahbowh’s restored Bible this past Sunday to Erma Vizenor, Chair of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, was a profound experience. A moment of great pride and great humility.
As was the next moment, when she handed it to Megan Emory — whose loving hands had restored the Bible.Emory then processed it down the center aisle of Christ Cathedral, Cincinnati, where the deacon read from it as the Gospel.
And to think I had to preach after this awe-inspiring experience!
Enmegahbowh’s Bible is a sacred vessel that holds sacred stories. Some of these stories are about blind Bartimeus, the woman at the well, the prodigal son and so on. Other stories found in Enmegahbowh’s Bible are his own stories: like a four-leaf clover, newspaper clippings, and family transitions. All the stories are sacred — because they illustrate the faith journey of God’s people.
“Creator, we give you thanks for all you are and all you bring to our visit within you creation. In Jesus, you place the Gospel in the center of this sacred circle through which all creation is related. You show us the way to live a generous and compassionate life. Give us your strength to live together with respect and commitment as we grow in your Spirit, for you are God, now and forever.” (Prayer from Gospel-Based Discipleship)
Being an indigenous person himself, Enmegahbowh knew that the Native people already had a clear understanding of the sacred in their midst. What he brought to them was, “In Jesus, you place the Gospel in the center of this sacred circle through which all creation is related.” And now through Gospel-Based Discipleship, our Native American brothers and sisters continue to call the rest of us to place the Gospel in the center of all that we do.
“We are blessed beyond measure to have such a long and rich relationship with our Native American brothers and sisters throughout the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. May we continue to be inspired by all they bring to our life in Christ.
“Almighty God, you led your pilgrim people of old with fire and cloud: Grant that the ministers of your Church, following the example of blessed Enmegahbowh, may stand before your holy people, leading them with fiery zeal and gentle humility. This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Prayer for June 12th, the day the Episcopal Church honors Enmegahbowh.)