Every time your feet touch our Mother Earth
Our souls will feel the pull of those
Who have walked before us
“Vasco da Gama discovered South Africa”. I remember my history teacher teaching me that the Portuguese mariners sailed around Africa and were the first to discover my home city of Cape Town. It was only years later that I discovered that people lived on the land long before the European explorers arrived. The indigenous people of Africa looked on in bewilderment as the Portuguese, then the Dutch and finally the English claimed the land that they had occupied for centuries. And I earned a valuable lesson: to be respectful of the ancient peoples who first occupied my country. They have an ancient knowledge and culture that I could learn from.
Jesus faced something like this when he met a Samaritan woman who challenged him on the ownership of a well (John Ch 4). He had to recognize that the well was ancient, and nobody could claim water rights on its use. His response was one of loving acceptance of the woman, and a desire to live at peace with her and her village. Perhaps this can be the lesson for this week as the people of the USA celebrate Native American day and the arrival of Columbus. While many different people and cultures have settled in this beautiful country, let us remember the Native American people who occupied the land before it was “discovered” by Columbus. Let us be conscious of “the pull of those who have walked before us” and show them due respect. This is the way of Jesus.