National Aboriginal Day: Messengers of Reconciliation
Jesus is all about Truth and Reconciliation. His time on earth was spent bringing Truth and reconciling all of us to Himself. In 1 Cor. 5:19, Paul tells us that Jesus “entrusted to us the message of reconciliation.” As a Christ-follower, I should be all about Truth and Reconciliation.
I came into the Blanket Exercise with a pretty solid grasp of Canadian politics and history due to the four years I spent studying those topics in university. I can list the dates, names, and Acts involved in Confederation and beyond. In the years since I completed my degree, I have come to recognize (as everyone does), that some of the information provided to me during that time was not actually the Truth. I have learned more Truth about the residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, the ban on important cultural and religious practices, the intentional transmission of disease, the neglect of Treaty agreements, and so many more horrors that were committed against the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Despite all of this knowledge, I am sad to admit that this Truth has often seemed a bit removed from me. I have felt shame about the Church’s role in all of it, discomfort with the fact that I am living on stolen land, and generally overwhelmed by the horrible legacy of it all while simultaneously doubting that there is much I can do to change any of it.
But during the Blanket Exercise, Jesus spoke another Truth to my heart. As we read through the horrors and the way that our actions have so deeply wounded our neighbours, the Truth that these are His children settled on my heart. He showed me His deep love for my Indigenous brothers and sisters. He died to reconcile each of them to Himself. His heart is broken by the pain they continue to go through and even more so because of how often it has been done in His name. Sitting there that night, hearing about how many women have actually gone missing, how poor the education system still is on reserves, how many of the Indigenous people of my parents’ generation did not get to grow up in their own family, I felt Jesus lay His burden of Truth on my heart. He spoke to me of the importance of building relationships with my Indigenous neighbours and standing with them as they rebuild their communities. I know that Jesus will continue to speak to me and our church as we walk out the “ministry of reconciliation” (1 Cor. 5:18) that He has given us because of His great love.