Clergy Notes — Aboriginal Prayer Sunday, June 26 2022
This past Tuesday marked National Indigenous Peoples Day, and as we now approach Canada Day, I find myself wondering anew how to honour the latter in a way that does not diminish the former. I – like most of us – am a settler; my family are European immigrants, and the land my ancestors belong to is thousands of miles away. I am grateful to be a guest here, on land that has been cared for since time immemorial by the Coast Salish Peoples.
Clergy of the Diocese of New Westminster gathered together last week to listen and learn from two prominent Indigenous voices – the Rev’d Dr. Ray Aldred (Director of Indigenous Studies Program at VST), and Lynda Gray, author of First Nations 101 (https://www.firstnations101.com). We were invited to listen with fresh ears to the ways in which God is calling us as people of the Gospel to be active participants in the holy work of reconciliation.
Dr. Aldred reminds us that reconciliation begins with our Creator, who is always healing the divides between Creator and Creation. We are re-created through our baptism, because the Word first baptized the water, making it a healing source for us. Thus, Wisdom is not something we discover of our own accord – it is a river which has existed long before us and will continue long after us … we just move into it. Yet we are not called to be passive sojourners. Lynda Gray invites us to get in our canoes and actually move, reminding us how our very own ACC Marks of Mission can be our guideposts on this journey. Cultivating real relationships, becoming comfortable with the discomfort of change, making actionable goals in our commitment to the TRC and MMIWG … these are just a few ways in which we can enter this river and make a difference.
It can seem overwhelming at times, so I think we also need to be reassured that all movements in the right direction are good, as long as we continue to make them together in faith and in friendship. I pray that we may re-commit ourselves again and again to the Christlike work of reconciliation and the goal of harmony between all Peoples and Creation, joining in this holy work with our loving Creator, who is always seeking reconciliation with us.