Memorial Day Cookout and Potluck

There once was a ceremony practiced by the First Nation people – which included many tribes in Canada and America.  It was a ceremony of giving.  Tribes would give to others items such as pottery, blankets, trinkets, tools, cookware,  and it was often a competition as to who could Give the most/best gifts with the caveat that the receiver of these gifts had to give away as much as they received, when they could.

This ceremony was woven into the fabric of the First Nation people and it was based on caring for one another as I have cared for you.  It was due to the distribution of a large number of Hudson Bay blankets that caught the government’s attention.
This generosity in gift giving was incomprehensible to Europeans and Americans because it was a threat to the pragmatic model of accumulation and self-interest that was taking hold.

So, this ceremony was made illegal.
The Native American regalia was seized and burned in front of the families who gave.

Missionary William Duncan wrote “This ceremony was a major obstacle to Native American assimilation into Christianity or becoming “civilized.”
The “Potlach”  ceremony has a kinship with the lineage of kindness by which Jesus fed the multitudes.

The Calvinistic personal acquisition model took root, and people were taught that they would be rewarded in Heaven by what they amassed on earth, in direct opposition to what Jesus taught.

Potlach ceremony’s honor generosity and measures a person not by what one owns but by what one gives away.  As a society we are still recovering from this economic model based on acquisition and self interest. The law against this ceremony was repealed in 1939 in Canada and in America in 1951.

Underneath this ceremony lies the realization to give to one another is the awareness all of us at some time or another will be in need.  It is a covenant of care.

Join us this Sunday, May 26 as we celebrate Memorial Day honoring those who fought for our freedom with an outdoor cookout after our Service.  We will supply the hot dogs, turkey dogs, burgers and turkey burgers. Please bring a side dish to this Potluck to share with one another.

Happy Memorial Day,
Rev Janice

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