Spirited Reflection: Finding ways to walk together in faith
Photo of The Rev Dr. Margaret Mullin was taken by Vivian Ketchum.
Reconciliation between Indigenous People and the Church will be a centuries-long journey. I am committed to that journey by virtue of my DNA, Ojibway and Irish/Scottish I am. I am Anishinaabe Kwe learning how to live out our sacred teachings and way of being. I am also an Indigenous follower of Jesus learning how to live out the Jesus Way. I am not confused; it is who I was created to be.
Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the light. A simple and profound statement that is. The risk of being in service to “The Way, The Truth, and The Light” is never too great when I reflect on what Jesus has done for me. So, I am committed to going forward to wherever the Creator’s Son takes me.
I deeply love and respect The Church. I deeply love and respect my Anishinaabe Spiritual Traditions. I am and will continue to learn from both how to be the child of God that I was created to be. The Knowing and the Teachings about Creator, about the rituals of faith, about the sacraments and about the ceremonies we practice are different for sure.
Together they provide for me a delightful combination of a faith that is both intellectually satisfying and warming to the heart and soul.
In the breech
I find myself in a breech created by my European ancestors’ suspicions of my Aboriginal ancestors’ mystical way of seeing the truth with “Spirit” eyes, through visions, dreams, and experience. This is only intensified by my Ojibway ancestors’ suspicions of wisdom learned only from the borrowed knowledge of truth gained from the past through solidly referenced printed material from all over the world.
I first found it distressing to be in the breech between the two worlds. But now it is an exciting place for me to be. I find myself curious, wondering, trying to make some rational sense of something so profoundly Spiritual that it defies explanation. What I have experienced in a profound way is that The drum, the sweat, the smudge, the dance all connect me to God. The one true God.
Once I rediscovered the ancient Ojibway tradition of smudging, it quite literally helped me reach out for God’s Spirit in a more physical way and cover myself in it, opening myself more fully to God. Actually, seeing and experiencing God’s Spirit washing over me, forgiving me, filling me, healing me, and making me strong is more profound than words can explain. Is that not what Confession and Assurance of Pardon are all about?
Jesus teachings and the Seven Sacred teachings are like reflections in a mirror for me. It puzzles me how my Christian ancestors were so quick to label the aboriginal spiritual understanding and practices as pagan or evil.
From whichever world of thought and being you come, I invite you to come and see what the other has to offer and find ways to walk together in faith.
The Rev Dr. Margaret Mullin is a member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek in North West Ontario. She is an Ordained Minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. She describes herself as an Indigenous follower of Jesus. Her Mother was Ojibway. Her father was Irish/Scottish.
KAIROS acknowledges that May 26 is The National Day of Healing and Reconciliation.