"The following fragment of a Sioux prayer provides a wonderful transition to the second half of this meditation on Psalm 34:8:

". . . Great Spirit, you have been always, and before you nothing has been. There is no one to pray to but you. The star nations all over the heavens are yours, and yours are the grasses of the earth. You are older than all need, older than all pain and prayer. . . . Great Spirit, fill us with the light. Give us the strength to understand and the eyes to see.

"Like the psalmist and the writer of Genesis, the Sioux who prayed this prayer believe 'in the beginning . . . God' (Gen. 1:1), that God created the heavens and the earth, and that God grants the ability to 'see,' to understand. Such seeing requires a certain strength that only God can give.

"The First Peoples who prayed this prayer knew that it is God who grants the gift of this sort of sight, a fundamental understanding of Christian theology as well. In his highly accessible book on the creed, Karl Barth notes almost at the outset, 'Only God's revelation, not our reason . . . can carry us over from God's incomprehensibility.' Barth continues, 'It is not because we have already sought Him that we find Him in faith but, it is because He has first of all found us that we seek Him. . . .' The capacity to know God — for sight is a metaphor for understanding — is the result of God's initiative. As I have been suggesting, God always makes the first move. Humans may or may not respond to the invitation."