The Gospel from Black Elk



A Sermon Podcast

Preached Sunday, August 4, 2013 at Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community in Pittsburgh, PA


In this sermon podcast, Jeff Brown, a Sociology major at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, reflects on a trip he took with the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Jeff shares the heartbreaking story of the Massacre at Wounded Knee and lifts up the life and ministry of Lakota Medicine Man Black Elk.

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Jeff Brown Pic
Author Jeff Brown


Prayer of Black Elk

Lean to hear my feeble voice.
At the center of the sacred hoop
You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.

With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
With running eyes I must say
The tree has never bloomed

Here I stand, and the tree is withered.
Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.

It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
Nourish it then
That it may leaf
And bloom
And fill with singing birds!

Hear me, that the people may once again
Find the good road
And the shielding tree.

Buffy Sainte-Marie’s famous song “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee,” here covered by the Indigo Girls.

AUTHOR BIO: Jeff is a senior and Jubilee Fellow at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, pursuing a major in Sociology and minors in Religion, Congregational & Ministry Studies, and Urban Studies. He also serves as Partnership Development Coordinator at the Calvin College Service-Learning Center. He served this summer as an intern at Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community and the Brashear Association in Pittsburgh, PA. Jeff loves the intersections of justice, peacemaking and community living. He and his fiancé Emily will be married this coming January, and he’s pretty stoked about that!

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