Minister’s Message April 2014

 

“… God… reconciled us to himself through Christ,

and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

2 Corinthians 5:18

 

I took part this week in the hearings in Edmonton of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission regarding the Indian residential schools, and the harm they caused to many indigenous people in Canada.  The story of these schools is a difficult one to listen to.  It began with a policy, supported and carried out by government and church, that separated children from their parents and communities, took away their language, culture, and identity.  Even worse, it extended into widespread abuse of all kinds at the hands of those who were given charge of these children. 

 

We sat and listened to their stories, filled with pain and brokenness, expressed through tears, and left to hang there in the sacred space of the hearing.  It is a shameful chapter in the history of our country and church.

 

But in the hearings the pain is being lifted up and acknowledged, and first steps are taken on a road to healing and recovery.  As one whose life has been spent in the church, what struck me most was the generosity of some of the victims, when they said through their tears in the Churches’ Listening Circle, “I forgive you.”   It was a gracious offering, and given even before many of us have come to terms with this dark side of our own past.

 

This should matter to us as Canadians and as part of the body of Christ, because, sadly, it is our story. The journey is not complete, but first steps have been taken.   Not all are ready to forgive, but reconciliation has begun.   May we be part of the healing process, and do our part to seek renewed and life-giving relationships with our aboriginal brothers and sisters.

 

In Christ, Rev. Bob Smith

One in Christ, Reaching Out to Many