Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
Psalm 61:1-3 (King James Version)
Good morning Dear Readers. I have a question for you to ponder. What if some Arab (read Muslim) investors with boatloads of dough came crashing into the US and decided to turn Ground Zero into a mega-mall before the new World Trade Center was erected? Have their Japanese counterparts turn the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii into a resort/waterpark? Or have their neo-Nazi European counterparts turn Arlington National Cemetery into a housing development for the wealthy? Most Americans would go out of their mind with anger-quite violently if you ask me.
That being said, why are Americans not giving a squat about the First Nations protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Sioux Reservation at Standing Rock? As of this writing, Amazonian peoples from South America have now joined their northern brethren in solidarity. Despite macings and dog attacks from private security officers, the Standing Rock Sioux-with others-have stood their ground.
Standing Rock is one of the vestiges of Sioux culture that has been under attack (along with other First Nations peoples in the Americas) since White settlers
infested…oops…I mean settled in their lands over the generations. Over the generations these peoples have witnessed massacres, resettlement, and destruction of civilizations that go back before the writing of today’s Scripture when their ancient ancestors crossed the Bering Strait from Northeast Asia (now Russia) into North America. This pipeline situation is just a link in a long and oppressive chain.
The above passage from Psalms was a cry for God’s protection from enemies. For all we know, the Sioux-and others with them-could be praying this very prayer (or some variant). These people are being overwhelmed by enemies who for generations exploited their land and their lives. For the Sioux, Standing Rock is the “rock that is higher” than them; it’s their home and culture.
We in the boardinghouse-hold of faith need to be in solidarity with the First Nation protesters. For those in the region or can get there, physically. For those of us around the world who cannot get to Standing Rock, in prayer and hitting the ‘Net. We must let God lead us to bring about justice for our Sioux brethren. For tonight, “the rock that is higher than I” is Standing Rock. And Standing Rock doesn’t have to just be in North Dakota; it can be anywhere where indigenous peoples have watched their lands and way of life systematically destroyed by the powerful and the greedy.
If we don’t do anything and let this destruction continue, one day God will allow places like New York, London, Washington, DC, Amsterdam, and other significant places in the West and Northern Hemisphere to be the new “Standing Rocks”. Should that day come, we may turn around and find ourselves all alone as our ways of life are destroyed by powerful outsiders.
Let’s look to the rock that is higher than we are and work for justice.
Image: courtesy of White Wolf Pack