Indigenous communities across North America are in the midst of a gospel-inspired spiritual renewal. Though there are many significant aspects of this movement, the traditional values enshrined in the Seven Sacred Teachings have emerged, re-animated by prayer and the spirit.
Sometimes called the Seven Grandfathers, the Seven Sacred Teachings are: Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth and Love.
There is great value in simple meditation upon these words. As people place the gospel in the centre of their gatherings, the Seven Sacred Teachings are brought into a mutually illuminating conversation with the words and stories of Jesus. Through the gospel, they connect the very best of the past with the very bright future promised in the resurrection.
Viewed in light of the gospel, the Seven Sacred Teachings unveil the unique and abiding presence of the living word among the People of the Great Land. Long before the missionaries came, the seeds of gospel faith and integrity were planted deep in the heart of the people. In Jesus, the teachings are not destroyed, they are fulfilled.
All Anglicans may profitably attend to the teachings. They are meant to be shared as widely as possible. Joined to the essential elements of our spiritual formation—the Ten Commandments, the Two Great Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer—they could help us form a truly Canadian character to our faith. In the gospel, they express the ancient wisdom of this land in the ever-new beauty of the living word of God. Ω
Bishop Mark MacDonald is national indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.