It wasn’t until my early 30’s that I even heard of the Residential School System and the role that the church and government played in it; but even what was reported back then was often “sugar coated.” Yet over the last 20 years I have come to learn and understand the horrific atrocities that were forced upon the Indigenous peoples – trauma that is still being felt to this day.
As I was asked to pray for this Sunday’s service, my mind continued to reflect on the recent news of the genocide of 215 innocent First Nations children at Kamloops Indian Residential School. Let me be transparent, I use that word purposefully. These children didn’t die going to school; their lives were taken from them. I don’t believe that we can move forward in reconciliation until we are honest with what actually happened and the role that the church and government played in it.
However, that brings me to my second point. As followers of Christ, we must stop turning a blind eye to the racism and abuse that occurs in our society everyday. We must put down the false narratives that try to say “this is in the past” and minimize the trauma that Indigenous communities are currently living through.
As the writer of Proverbs declares, we must be willing to:
“...speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and the helpless,
and see that they get justice.”
(Proverbs 31:8-9, NLT)
I would invite you to do four things with me:
First take time to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions report and reflect on the 94 Calls to Action.
Second, Pray. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about what actions you can personally take towards Truth and Reconciliation.
Third, Pray (yes I said pray again). Pray for our churches and for our government officials to be willing to have an open and honest dialogue and to commit to following through with these Calls to Action.
And finally, be “Silent No More.” Take a stand against the racism and injustice that happens each and every day. Ask God to open your eyes to see it and to be bold enough to act against it by reading, praying, learning, listening, and acting as the Holy Spirit prompts you.
To learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions 94 Calls to action, a copy of it can be found here. http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
A copy of the prayer guide from the Christian & Missionary Alliance to pray through each one of the calls to action can be found here. https://www.cmacan.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/trc-prayer-guide.pdf
VAC Member & Volunteer
Watch Greg Kuhn's prayer for the 215 from Sunday June 6 below.