I’ve mentioned in the past how our the format of our services (as in how it is recorded sometime during the week, edited, and posted for Sunday) sometimes lends for sermons and services that seem out of touch, so to speak. Today’s service was one of those times, as the news around the remains of 215 indigenous children found at a former residential school site came out after I had already wrote and recorded the service.
The first thing that I did when I heard the news was I went to hug my own children. I didn’t tell them why I was hugging them, nor did they ask. So I can’t even imagine how horrific it would be for families to have their children taken away from them and are never seen again. This is a dark part of Canadian history, and history that I think needs to be recognized and addressed.
I get that it is uncomfortable. I get that it can be a very undesirable conversation. And I really get how it is a topic that we have been conditioned by the systems of our society to not care about.
But I don’t think those reasons should hinder us from pursuing the truth and reconciling with our Indigenous siblings. If anything, it motivates us to be more unified, working together in compassion and love. Because right now, I feel as though we are too divided by ethnicity, cultural background, and varied differences in our philosophies and paradigms. Instead of letting those differences separate us, I think we can lift them up and cherish them as they broaden our own horizons and give us all a more abundant life.
This is what it means to be a community, to be part of God’s kingdom, to even be called children of God. That while we might be different, we are better for it. While we might have a dark history, we can learn from it and be better from it. While we were born into a broken world, we can be healed and brought back into wholeness.
I have always been a bit perplexed with Jesus’ attitude here toward his family. I mean, we barely get any mention of any siblings, and we get a small glimpse here and Jesus basically disowns them. It just always seemed harsh and uncalled for as they were just concerned for his well being.
But then I looked at the text in light on the news I talk about up there before the break, and it seems to make sense to me now. It wasn’t that Jesus was disowning them, it was that they were disowning Jesus. They were the ones that wanted him to stop being him, to stop being compassionate and full of love, to stop just being so in tune with God. Essentially, they failed to recognise who Jesus is as a prophet, as an activist, as God’s Son.
So I think Jesus might even had them in mind when he was talking about the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit, for they weren’t equating the justice and healing that Jesus was bringing as God’s work, but instead of the satan’s. They weren’t able to see how Jesus siding with the poor and needy could be gospel. They just couldn’t (and perhaps chose not to) understand that Jesus was acting for the good of all people and showing us that God is gracious and merciful.
This is something perhaps we all need to learn too. That God isn’t power mongering or demanding that we should be/look/act a certain way outside of loving toward our neighbour. The residential schools could have been disguised as a way of “showing God’s love” to people, but really it was just a cover for gaining more power by eliminating a whole culture. It is shameful and embarrassing to say the least, and downright evil if we want to call it as it is.
Peace to all the families affected by this tragic news, and to all the survivours of the heinous racist acts perpetrated by our government, our systems, and humanity in general.
Image is the flag at the Peace Tower in Ottawa flies at half-mast Sunday in memory of the 215 children whose remains were found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. (Olivier Hyland/CBC)