Sunday, August 19, 2018

It isn't the first time

Joyce Sasse - It isn’t the first time that once-declared-icons of history have been displaced. In the name of “reconciliation” with Canada’s First Nations’ People, names of building are being changed, statues are being removed from prominent locations, sports teams are getting new names...

Those offended by such happenings cling to their blinders. They forget how it was in past generations when, in the name of God and The Law, many Aboriginal traditions were demeaned. Pot-latches were outlawed. Families were forced to surrender children to residential schools, and nomadic people were restricted to movement within closed Reservations.

The time has come for each of us to make opportunity to lament our losses, give voice to our hurts, and express our bewilderment about being caught in powerful whirlpools of misunderstanding. Those who once harboured fractious thoughts against the other can come to respect and appreciate each other.

Scripture-wise – The earliest church got fully caught up in disputes because of diverse ways of thinking. The absurdness of one practise was brought to the disciple Peter’s attention by way of a dream (Acts 10). What he recalled was that he was forced, in the dream, to do the very thing he railed against in real life. When he spoke in defense of what he believed, he heard the voice of God chiding his assertions and urging him to broaden his attitude.
Later he (a Jew) was invited to the home of Cornelius (a Gentile) to speak about the issue that threatened to divide the two groups of people. Speaking to what he had learned from his earlier dream, Peter said “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis.” Whoever respects and does what is right is acceptable to God, no matter what race he belongs to … (Acts 30-36)

Might the lesson for our times be for Natives and non-Natives to come together to talk about those things that seemed offensive in the past? If we speak from the heart, if we hear each other out in the attitude of lament, we will find ways to reconsider the wrongs. We can move toward reconciliation and celebrate our diversity.

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