There are some souls you come across in your life whose imprint they make on your own is more than the hands you hold every day. Richard Twiss (Taoyate Obnajin: He Stands With His People) was such a soul. And today, as the world cries, dances and drums their response to his death, I am humbled and challenged by the deep and lasting impression Richard made on my life.
A personal sense of what it means to live on behalf of something began to form soon after I first met Richard at Seattle Pacific University in 2004. His story and teachings from the perspective of a First Nations person silenced and stunned me, and implored that I reject the insidious ethnocentric ways of our culture and Church. His dancing prayers displayed an understanding of the Creator for which I had always yearned, but never found within the four-walls of our standard sanctuaries. Richard’s visceral understanding of all actions, decisions and hopes being born out of a respect for future generations shamed my consumer-lifestyle. The deep joy of living forward from this place took hold of me!
I had the wonderful opportunity to facilitate a Native Expressions of Faith workshop for Seattle-area church and lay leaders at Seattle Pacific University in 2007, where once again I was able to work alongside this tremendous soul. As I danced with my prayers and my feet kept the drum circle’s beat, I recall feeling the clarity and formation of a personal mission statement that has informed my vocational call and way our family lives our life: to live on behalf of Other and the Future.
I bow to you, Richard, in deep gratitude for the life you walked along the path of the Waymaker. I am forever changed because of your response to the Creator. May the Spirit brood over your family as they continue their journey on this side.