Daily Reading for April 2 • James Lloyd Breck, Priest, 1876
From what I have now written you, you will learn, Christian brethren, that plants are ripening here for the harvest that comes on apace, before the reapers can be prepared to enter in. But you will like to know something further, viz., in what have the two years promised fruit, where we have been laboring? Seeds of glorious light have been sown, and they are even now shooting forth branches which promise, in due time, an abundant harvest.
Enter with me now, please, the near squared-log church. It is the very picture of simplicity and solemnity. Ever kept sacred to the Divine homage, it is always in that perfect order which becometh his sanctuaries. These Indians call Christians the “praying people,” and the church building the “Wigwam of Prayer.” . . . It is a week-day; fifty-six natives are present. The average number of daily attendants is over forty—quite frequently there are fifty; as large a number as you would see at their medicine dance, which occurs but twice in the year! Pagan is well translated into Ojibwa by one word, which signifies the people who do not pray! The small handful of whites you observe in the church are my fellow missionaries in the Lord, who have, male and female, come thither to instruct the heathen in the better way of things, both temporal and spiritual. . . . I am thankful to say I am able to read the liturgy in their own tongue, and thus appear before them in the true light of a clergyman. The interpreter gives the sermon and other instructions by word of mouth to the people, and also leads in the Ojibwa responses, which the people commit to memory and say orally. . . .
How exceedingly thankful, then, should we be, in this remote corner of the wilderness, to see not only a Christian temple built, but a body of daily worshippers in it, to the number that I have stated; not only so, but amongst them three Indians and one white young man actually going through a course of preparation for the ministry. How thankful, I say, should we be for all this evidence of life in the use of all those divers helps which the Lord hath appointed in his church on earth.
From a report by James Lloyd Breck describing his ministry among Native Americans, quoted in A Year With American Saints by G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber. Copyright © 2006. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY. www.churchpublishing.org