THE POWER OF RECONCILIATION IN NATIVE AMERICA


A long time ago, there was a boychild born to a modest, even common family. He grew up in a tension-filled time when an invading power ruled over the land of his ancestors. The young man looked like so many of his other tribesman, long hair and a ruddy complexion-and although some say he had light eyes, no one really knows exactly what he looked like. One thing was for certain, no one would have looked at him and said, "there goes the future hope of our people." Yet he had a vision, a purpose. He began to gather followers who believed that he could indeed lead them to salvation. However, many of the political/religious leaders of his nation were jealous of his influence and spreading fame. And so it was, at around age 33, the man's life was cut short as he laid his life down for his people. A spear was shoved into his side as, ironically, some of his own people stood by watching, choosing not to come to his aidhis people, the very ones he was trying to save. His name was Crazy Horse.

As a friend of ours, a Lakota pastor, shared this story, it was precious to see the impact that it had on all who were listening, both Indian and non-Indian. Then, the pastor began to tell the story of another Warrior, from the tribe of Judah, who had also sacrificed His life for the salvation of His people. He elaborated on the circumstances of this Warrior--that He was the son of the Creator, virgin-born, perfect and blameless, and most importantly, didn't just die for the people in His own tribe, but for anyone who would trust that He paid the penalty for their wrong-doings. It is so meaningful for us as native people to receive the Good News of Jesus Christ in a way that we can relate to. In a way that says, "It's okay to be Indian; God didn't make a mistake when he made your culture."

By the grace of God and through the heartfelt efforts and prayers of His church this message is reaching the first peoples of this land. A spirit of reconciliation is moving like a river of fresh water flowing into a parched and desolate desert. As past sins are acknowledged and forgiveness is sought and given, cries from innocent blood shed upon this great land are being silenced as the Blood of the Lamb of God is appropriated and great gardens of Christ's love are beginning to bloom on our reservations. The effects of His salvation in the lives of native people are nothing short of miraculous. People who have struggled with addictions are released from bondages that have tormented some of them since childhood, physical and emotional healings are taking place and the light of hope that was completely extinguished generations ago is being re-lit and is burning brightly in the hearts of our people.

Perhaps most of all, the Word of God is being craved and faithfully mined for its great and rich promises as native people begin to move in the Power of the One True God.

The majority of Indian people are already so in tune with the things of the spiritual/supernatural realm that when they become born again, they tend to astound and actually inspire those leading them in their new relationship. Indeed, a different perspective of our Creator can be seen through native eyes. A good analogy to explain this phenomenon would be the very earth that God has given us. At a particular hour of the day, the sun will appear completely different to those living in London than it does to those living on the Oneida reservation in upstate New York. It is the same sun viewed from two different locations. It would be wrong for either party to impose upon the other that "their" sun is the real sun and therefore the only valid way to enjoy its warmth and light.

In other words, we believe our Lord rejoices as much when He hears "How Great Thou Art" rising above the rafters of a great church made of brick and steel as He does when He hears Indian people singing songs of praise in their own language from underneath an arbor of made of cedar boughs.

And in His mercy, that message is being spread to our people. We are being received into the body of Christ, perhaps for the first time since European contact, not just as ignorant pagans who need to repent, but as people who, upon receiving the glorious gift of salvation, actually have unique, God-given gifts to contribute to the furtherance of His Kingdom.

Countless people have approached us relaying the burden they have upon their hearts for native people. Perhaps you too feel that weight, that's why you're reading this article. We will, with appreciation in our hearts, tell you what we tell all of those who ask. Pray for the native people of the Americas, from the northernmost part of Alaska down to the tip of South America. Ask the Lord to place a particular tribe upon your conscience or a certain ministry that reaches out to these people. As you enter by faith into the battle that is being waged for the souls of your native brothers and sisters, we can promise you that your prayers will avail much! Perhaps those prayers will even lead to a visit to a village or reservation, or a friendship sown with an Indian person living in your town. Whatever the case, you will bless and be blessed as you lovingly stand beside these fellow members of the Tribe of the Living God, and they stand beside you! And then one glorious day, we will all put on our warshirts and ride into battle upon white horses behind the Great Warrior whose name is Faithful and True...



Johnny & Kimberly Guerrero live in Nashville, TN. Johnny is a member of the popular reggae band, {{Temple Yard}}, and Kimberly is a professional writer and actress. They travel the country ministering in a variety of a capacities, spending much of their time on Native American reservations.


To find out how you can personally get involved in ministry to Native Americans click here!