In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 22 verse 37 we read the words of Jesus. He had been approached by an expert in the Law who asked Him, “what do I need to do to inherits eternal life?
Jesus replied... "What is written in the Law, how do you read it ?”
This was reference to Deuteronomy 6 verse 5... "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”...then Jesus added “love your neighbour as yourself.”
The horror of the discovery of those precious children in Kamloops demands not only collective action, but personal response. These Residential Schools were funded by the government and administered by Christian churches in order that indigenous children would be removed from the influence of their own culture in order that they be assimilated into the dominant Canadian culture ("to kill the Indian in the child”). Some 150,000 children across the country were placed in such schools far away from their families and their ancestral languages, and even their names were changed from aboriginal ones to “civilized” ones.
As we evolve and modernize there is still something within humanity that must cry out with the Prophet Isaiah...
”woe is me”, in the context of having unclean lips and “dwelling in the midst of a people with unclean lips”.
It matters not if we are talking about Canada, Palestine, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong or the Rohinga refugees
(to name only a few examples). It matters not whether it’s a black/white, Protestant/Catholic, Jew/Arab, Christian /Muslim issue...it usually boiled down to the stronger, to the dominant, to the victorious becoming the controlling force in society. The real tragedy is compounded by the fact that in an attempt to “evangelize” we became so confused that we thought we had to “civilize”.
God help us to see the error of our ways. Let us seek ways to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, to reach out, not only with legislative action, but with personal love, respect and honour for all.
Dr. Ian Fitzpatrick - National Director, Church of the Nazarene Canada
Lament: Remembering the Children (edited)
God of all peoples, all nations and tribes, whose son Jesus took children in his arms and blessed them:
Today we remember all the children of all the residential schools—
the murdered and the missing,
the ones whose names we know and the ones whose names we don’t yet know.
We remember their tears, their loneliness, and their fear.
We remember the families—the grandparents left to grieve;
the parents suffering in unyielding silence,
the communities whose bright hopes for the future were snatched away.
Hear our lament
for what was allowed to happen and for what will never be:
For the injustices lived,
the sufferings inflicted,
the tears cried,
the misguided intentions imposed,
and the prejudice and racism
which smothered the sounds and laughter of the forgotten children.
In speaking and hearing and acting upon the truth
strengthen us, as the followers of Christ and as Canadians,
to embody our hope in action, starting today.
Turn our shock and our grief
into right action—action that works for right relations,
action that works for healing and justice,
action that reconciles what is broken
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
These things we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.