Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
All Saints Whitby’s Community Garden
Photo 1 – A perspective of the Three Sisters garden, blessed and planted 2 weeks ago; this is a step in our journey to learn about and honour Indigenous tradition and agricultural practice.
Photo 2 - A close up of the Indian White Corn and Pole Beans that are growing up nicely; thanks to a watchful eye and some protective netting, we are keeping away the local chipmunks and squirrels! ... See MoreSee Less
Claire’s thought for the day….
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
John 1:5 NRSV
This verse from the lectionary for National Indigenous Day of Prayer stood out to me as I spent some time on Sunday afternoon reflecting upon our time of worship together, when many stories were shared, whether in song, spoken word, or scripture. Some were familiar stories, others were new, yet all the while I felt that the light of God’s love was illuminating our beliefs and traditions, as well as both our history and future.
The various stories reminded me of the richness of oral tradition and its ability to pass on understandings and teachings. The opening story was told through song and rhythm, by two members of the All Our Relations Métis Drum Circle; it was a call to honour and remember the achievements of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The second story was told in conjunction with smudging and taught us about purification and goodness in what we think, see, hear, speak, and do. The third story reminded us of the significance of an eagle’s feather and the hand-made leather bed where it rests in our church; about being in relationship with Creator God and about renewal and life. Then, we heard a variety of other stories; about the ancestry of our land, ancient prophecy, and about creation.
But the sermon by Rev. Leigh Kern told yet another story; a story that was extremely difficult to hear in contrast to the preceding stories that most of us openly received. Rev. Kern told us about genocide. She shed light upon a dark and evil part of history that is shared by our nation and our church: the intentional destruction of Indigenous Peoples through killing, serious physical and mental harm, preventing births, and forcibly transferring children from their community. Rev. Kern shed light upon the haze of denial and cultural amnesia that has plagued our Canadian society for far too long. But she also shed light upon courageous voices and the impact they can have. We were told about Dr. Bryce who, as Canada’s Chief Medical Health officer in 1907, raised the alarm about death rates and poor living conditions in residential schools. We were reminded that the stories of residential school survivors have been a powerful force to make the truth known.
And so, after Sunday’s sermon it has become even clearer to me that the light of God’s love in Jesus Christ is at work in our midst, bearing witness to the truth. I believe that the light is
shining upon the darkness of our past, exposing the genocide of Indigenous Peoples, and showing us the way to repentance and forgiveness. While the truth is hard to hear, it does
bring freedom, and we become free to reflect the light of Christ in our lives and in our relationships. We are invited to step into the light and share it, which will enable us to participate in reconciliation. While we know that this process is a long and difficult one, I believe it is indeed possible because the light of Christ is at work and will prevail… as each of us take small steps in thought, word, and action to repair the relationship between settlers and Indigenous Peoples.
Prayer: Creator God, thank-you for bringing the light of your love into the world. As your light shines, may all truth be revealed and as the world embraces your light, may steps of reconciliation be taken. Show me how I can be part of the truth and reconciliation process and grant me the courage to reflect your light in all that I think, say, and do. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. ... See MoreSee Less