Friday, April 14, 2017

Connections to Christ

Picture Book: Crazy Horse’s Vision
Author: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrator: S. D. Nelson
Summary: This story focuses on Crazy Horse’s devotion to his Lakota tribe, the threat they faced as settlers moved into their lands, and the guiding vision he received as a young man.
In the 1840s near the Wyoming & South Dakota border, Crazy Horse was born a solemn child with curly hair so they named him Curly.
Strong and wiry, Curly was an early leader who listened carefully and told his peers, "Follow me. If we're brave we can help our people." 
At age 11, Curly surprised everyone by taming a wild pinto so his father gave him the horse.
When hunting buffalo at age 13, he swiftly felled a huge buffalo in the middle of the herd with just one arrow. Then he gave the buffalo to all in his camp who had no one to hunt for them. 
During his childhood, the American army built a fort in Lakota land, declaring it would keep the peace. After a warrior killed a destructive cow that had wandered into the Lakota camp from the fort, the Chief offered a mule and 5 horses to compensate. 
The offer was disregarded, instead the Army killed the chief. 
After witnessing this event, Curly left in haste for a vision quest without the expected preparations from the Holy Man. 
Tying his horse's legs to prevent it from wandering, Curly then climbed into a pit. 
There he "prayed for strength to help his people." After three days, no vision had come. He climbed out of the pit and collapsed near his horse. 
His father found him and scolded him for being unprepared and discounting the wisdom of the elders. 
Meanwhile, Curly saw an eagle but held his vision in secret because of the scolding he received. 
Three years later, Curly had become much quieter, more serious, and more generous. When his father asked about his vision quest, Curly described the eagle. 
His father explained that Curly would become "the first to defend your people" and must "keep nothing for yourself." And he gave Curly his own name, a practice of honoring. Curly would be called Crazy Horse and known for his great bravery and loyalty to his people.
The story of Crazy Horse continues in a lengthy Author’s Note in the back. Here you’ll read about some of his other memorable deeds and his martyrdom. 
Hanna’s Comments: Christians observe Good Friday today. Each year, I struggle with what kind of book to feature at PBT on such an important day. Today I chose a story about a man whose life has obvious connections to Jesus. That’s why I told the summary above in the manner I did, highlighting biographical milestones that had some connection to Jesus life. Direct your audience to look broadly for character traits and aspects of power, not story details. In some cases, encourage your audience to find the differences. I don’t equate Crazy Horse to Jesus, but I do think it’s good to know when humans approach the level of humility, self-giving love, and courage of Jesus. The story of Crazy Horse is not well known. The little I knew of him before reading this book I learned at the monument being built in his memory, an amazing feat in progress that also isn’t well-known. 
Image result for crazy horse memorial
If you find yourself in South Dakota, perhaps to see Mt. Rushmore, don’t miss The Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s nearby. Don’t wait for it to be finished; it will likely not be finished in my lifetime. It is astonishing for its size; Mt. Rushmore would fit only in the head of the huge Crazy Horse of this memorial. See it and read about the memorial and why it is being built without government money [here].
Original Publisher & Date: Lee & Low, 2000
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: There are numerous connections to Jesus such as Crazy Horse’s political concerns for his people, his humility, his vision quest, and his martyrdom. You might find connections to other biblical figures such as Moses and John the Baptist.
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book or use Crazy Horse’s story in a lesson or sermon, making connections to Jesus or another man of God. Consider telling about The Crazy Horse Memorial as well.