The first week of August, Pastor Doug and I enjoyed a continuing education class at the University of British Columbia. While we were on the campus we visited the Museum of Anthropology. Beautiful totem poles were part of the museum that is devoted to honoring the first nations of the Pacific Northwest.
Totem poles are normally made of red cedar which are abundant in supply in the Pacific Northwest. They would be placed visibly within a community. Totem poles do not necessarily “speak,” telling a story, but they do serve to document the history and stories that are familiar to people from the family or members of the clan.
Symbolic forms, human, animal, or supernatural, adorn the totem poles. They show kinship, functioning as a type of family crest.
The thunderbird for example, would be a part of the Kwakwakawakw families of northern Vancouver, members of the Thunderbird Clan. Killer whales, frogs, eagles, and beavers are common. Totem poles also honor specific events or significant individuals.
Sometimes we forget that our lives “tell a story.” A totem pole communicates to others what is important. As Christians who follow Jesus the Christ, we have the opportunity to be bearers of the gospel story. May our words and actions reflect the heart of Christ, the Lord of love who came to transform the world with life-giving love.
Please welcome Rev. Don Dixon, former pastor at Hyde Park Community United Methodist, as he preaches the message of God’s love and grace.
Pastor Cathy Johns