Last Wednesday I attended the Hays High Baccalaureate service and it got me thinking about when both of my sons graduated, I was able to speak at their Baccalaureate services and I shared the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage.
According to Cherokee legend the boy’s father takes him deep into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone for the night.
The boy is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the perils of the night, the boy is recognized by the tribe as a man.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. As he sits upon the stump he can hear all kinds of noises in the forest. His mind imagines that wild beasts must surely be all around him. He fears that maybe even some human might jump him and do him harm.
Throughout the night the whistle of the wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but the boy sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could prove that he was a man.
Finally, after a horrifyingly long night the sun finally appeared and the boy removed his blindfold.
It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been there all night protecting his son from harm.
This story reminds us as Christians that we too are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is sitting on the stump beside us watching over us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is remember that He is with us always.
To all of the parents of sons and daughters and to all of this year’s graduates (including my youngest son Taylor who receives his Masters Degree in Social Work from KU this weekend)
We celebrate with you!
Your pastor and partner in ministry,