Discover a New World
The Alaskan Yupiit Indian people believe in a spirit they call a “Yua” that inhabits everything. And because they believe a Yua enlivens rocks, spruce trees, rivers and fish, as well as humans, they not only interact differently with creation but live in a bigger world than we. If a Yupiit woman comes upon a piece of driftwood on a river bank, she will pick it up and turn it over so its underside can get some fresh air and sun. By this deed she bestows a blessing on the Yua of wood and in return in gratitude she receives a blessing from the wood’s spirit.
We industrialized people have no such relationship with creation, especially with anything inanimate. We treat our pets with concern and even affection, talking to them as if they understood us. Yet extremely rare if not impossible would be finding anyone who treats the various machines in their lives as they do their pets. The Yupiit interact with creation with respectful concern since they live in the midst of nature. We however live in a manufactured world that dominates the small green islands of living creation in our environment.
To live a healthy and sane life in our metallic mechanized world it is a challenge to find ways to reconnect with creation, be it only a green plant in a flowerpot. Sadly, we inhabit a very small world shaped—or better deformed—by our human superiority complex and our Christian indoctrination. Feeling threatened by the old lively gods of creation and the powerful spirits of rivers and pools, early Christianity divorced itself from creation. It became an in-door religion of buildings with darkened windows of stained glass to keep out the natural world. It is time for reconciliation, so pray and worship out of door…and befriend creation as a companion that is alive with the Breath of God’s Spirit.
The Pentecost Festival of the Spirit is approaching. Open yourself to be touched by the Spirit of God imaged as a dove and a mighty whirlwind akin to a Kansas tornado. Do not fear, however, that your world will be turned upside down as was that of believers two thousand years ago. We’ve domesticated the Spirit and keep it in a holy birdcage confident it won’t disturb the “sameness” of our worship and lives. Don’t be too sure! Just as nothing can cage or control a Kansas tornado, so too is the Spirit—the Energy of the Divine Mystery— uncontrollable. As sons and daughters of the Spirit, live with an abiding awareness of that mysterious presence in ourselves and in all of life.
Become a Discoverer of a New World: Live these coming days like an Alaskan Yupiit and treat all things with reverence and compassion.