Sunday, January 16, 2005

Lefse and goose bumps

Tonight I had lefse for supper to night. Lefse is a Norwegian delicacy.

I had lefse because I went on retreat in mid-December and meditated on Acts 2--you know, the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

As a Pentecostal boy I was well versed in that passage. I began speaking in tongues when I was 12 or thirteen.

This time as I meditated on the passage I noted all the languages were speaking in: Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene and visitors from Rome all understood the lads and lasses from Galilee.

Why did the Holy Spirit speak all the languages? I pondered on my retreat.

Alternating with meditating on the Acts 2 story, I was meditating on a pamphlet on the spirituality of the Toba--a small group of Native Americans in South America. They are trying to maintain their traditional culture after having been almost wiped out by the dominant culture.

Many of the Toba became Christians beginning in the 1930's. In early December Richard and Ruth Anne Friesen from Plow Creek moved to Argentina in early December to live with the Toba and encourage them on their spiritual journey.

Their traditional culture had many similarities to Christianity and that made them very open to the good news via Jesus.

I realized that the Holy Spirit had the folks from Galilee speak so many different languages on day 1 of church history to make the point that all God speaks all languages and cultures. God values all languages and cultures.

What, I wondered, is there to value in my culture?

When I reported on my meditations to my two retreat guides, Anne, who does anti-racism training across the USA, said that the founder of her organization had noted that immigrants from the white areas of the world gave up their connections to the roots in order to fit in in America and get on the wealth and progress gravy train.

My great-grandfather emigrated from Norway. My Dad still speaks with a Norwegian accent.

As I reflected on Anne's words I realized that I tried to get rid of everything Norwegian about me. No accent. No Norwegian music. I adopted rock and roll (which, of course, came from African roots).

As I thought back I realized there was one thing I loved from my roots--lefse. I came home from the retreat and told Sarah that I would really like lefse for Christmas--food from my roots. On the day after Christmas she made lefse.

Oh, did that taste good.

Then tonight she made it again. Lefse is a simple pancake-type food made out of potatoes. Fresh of the griddle rolled up with butter and sugar, it's the best.

When she finished she said, "I'm proud of myself." It's not easy to make since you have to roll it out like a pie crust.

"I'm proud of you too," I said.

"I do it all for you," she said and kissed me on the neck.

Lefse and goose bumps. What a good day.