So this past week was tough for me. Not only is it extremely hot, but the news of around 751 bodily remains of Indigenous children, teens, and band leaders were found at an old residential school site in Saskatchewan hit me pretty hard.
It’s just so sad. the 215 found in our own province was bad enough, and then the others found in the following weeks. I feel as though we as a country can no longer run from our history and pretend it never happened. We need to face up to it, own it, and have the humility to say that it was wrong and then maybe we can see how our history has shaped the mentalities and understandings in our country today. And then maybe we can move forward in reconciliation and healing.
But like I mentioned in today’s sermon, some people still don’t get it. And perhaps they don’t want to. Why? Because there is no worldly power in admitting wrongdoing. There is no worldly gain in accepting fault. There is no worldly strength in apologizing for prejudicial actions. The fact of the matter is we all have a role to play in the reconciliation. We all have a part to play in the healing. We can all do something to help to create a country that is more accepting, more welcoming, and more equal than what has been left for us.
Still some might say that it isn’t worth it. As they might still see our Indigenous siblings as uncultured “savages” that possess a very sought after land. And I recognise that at the same time, I can still be seen as a locally-born foreigner who just doesn’t understand Canadian culture yet. And any one of you reading these words can be seen as some who has less power, less credibility, less worth than the next person depending on who is talking. And I think you and I know that kind of thinking is just ridiculous.
Because our value and worth isn’t attributed by what people say and think, but by what God says and thinks. And God says we are beloved, valuable members of God’s family. So let’s treat each other as such, both now and moving into the future.
So it seems like even Jesus can be victim of this kind of prejudice. Jesus, the healer and saviour of the world, was deemed nearly powerless because people couldn’t ease up on their own pride a bit to let him do his thing. Instead, they were like, “oh we know this kid, he’s just a kid! Won’t amount to anything…”
It is a sobering thought, thinking how this kind of pride, this closed-mindedness, this greed for power (in that they didn’t want to give up any of their supposed power) can actually stunt the work of Jesus in the world. Or perhaps, just the work of Jesus in our own lives. The text tells us that Jesus was still able to do a few healings, but the majority of the people just basically scoffed at him.
In the same way, if we don’t own up to our faults, we cannot be healed. If we don’t accept the possibility of our own wrongdoing, there cannot be reconciliation. If we cannot be humbled enough to recognise our sin, then we simply cannot be forgiven.
So for the sake of the healing of our country and the health of our churches and communities, let us humble ourselves before God and each other, repent of the sins of our country, and seek God’s reconciliation and healing.
Peace be with you all.