Wednesday, September 02, 2009

David Pendleton Oakerhater

I was remiss yesterday due to general business from posting something on the saint for September 1st. The Saint yesterday was a deacon in the Episcopal Church in the later 1800's. You have probably never heard of him, but his name was David Pendleton Oakerhater.

Oakerhater (from the Cheyenne word for Sun Dance) was a warrior and later Christian convert who became a deacon and served his people with distinction until his death in 1931.
I could write much more about him, but for more on his life there is an excellent essay here that is worth reading.

After being ordained (a rarity for any "mainstream" Protestant denomination at that time and for some decades thereafter) and returning to his people in 1881, his first sermon done at a Sun Dance Powwow had this quote:

"When he first returned to Oklahoma in 1881, he said: You all know me. You remember when I led you out to war I went first, and what I told you was true. Now I have been away to the East and I have learned about another captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my leader. He goes first, and all He tells me is true. I come back to my people to tell you to go with me now in this new road, a war that makes all for peace."

The Collect proscribed for today from Lesser Feasts and Fasts is worthy of pondering, as it encompasses so many themes of this saints life. Let us pray:

"O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, who chose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater, to be your servant, and sent him to be a missionary to his own people and to exercise the office of a deacon among them: Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self, and empower us for service to you and to the neighbors you have given us; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen"

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