The theme for this year’s Youth Mission Trip to Pine Ridge was “Reckless Love,” based on the song by Cory Asbury. Here’s the chorus:
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
The last place where I expected to see an example of that reckless love was at Wounded Knee, site of the one of the most disgraceful chapters in American history. We saw it first in the personage of a Lakota guide who volunteers his time each summer to tell visitors to the site the true story of the 1890 massacre. We saw it again when he told us the story of Lost Bird.
It snowed right after the Wounded Knee Massacre, preserving the bodies and the horrors of the over 300 Lakota killed. A baby they called Lost Bird was found 4 days after the killing, alive under her mother’s cloak and nursing at her breast. Her mother had been hunted down and killed by a soldier, just like so many fleeing, unarmed Lakota women and children. Lost Bird was claimed by a Cavalry officer as a “living trophy of war.” After a short life filled with abuse and unhappiness, she died at 29 and was buried in Nebraska. For the 100-year Memorial of the massacre, her body was exhumed and brought home to Wounded Knee. Her mother had been thrown into one of the mass graves after the Massacre, so Lost Bird was buried in her own grave site, trusting that her spirit would finally be reunited with her mother’s.
The reckless love of God “leaves the ninety-nine” to find the one that is lost. That is what we were reminded by the story of Lost Bird.
Your friend and fellow minister,
Rev. Steve Savides