Celebrating the return of the light
This week we celebrate the coming of spring with a collection of religious holidays. In most Christian religions, this is Holy Week; the days that tell the story of Jesus’ life leading up to his death on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday. It’s the beginning of the church year and many communities celebrate with a ceremonial fire and a vigil on Saturday night. Some hold sunrise services on Easter Sunday morning.
In the Jewish tradition this week is Passover; which tells the story of the Israelites fleeing from slavery and oppression in Egypt. Even though life was more secure under the Egyptians in many ways, the people were called by the spirit of God into the wilderness to a life of freedom and blessing for the generations who came after them.
In Lakota tradition, last week was the Return of the Thunder Beings; which tells the story of the return of the rain for the nourishment of the earth and its medicines.
All three observances tell the same story; of divine goodness that brings people together and connects us to the land and Unčí Maka.
In our feature article on Ellen and Kurt Huber, the new priests at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Eagle Butte and for all the churches in the Cheyenne River Episcopal Mission, we tell the story of their family leaving behind a familiar and safe live in Connecticut to follow the call to be of service to the people in South Dakota. They followed a sense of divine light without knowing what to expect in Eagle Butte, and have made a home here with the people.
In this season of the return of the light, the West River Eagle encourages you to be alert to new things happening in your communities; to venture outside after a long COVID winter; and to come together to celebrate the survival and renewal of the people through prayer, song, sweat, drumming and worship.
The coronavirus is still with us, so be careful. New variants are more contagious even with a mask, social distancing and the vaccine. Come together to celebrate the season, but do so carefully.