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Milestones- Rezoning our Comfort Zones

Editor's note: This post is the second in a series from the Milestones project. People who have been participated in or been affected by the CRC's work for reconciliation during the past six years, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has travelled the country, have contributed stories of moments (or "milestones" on the journey of reconciliation) when they were touched by the movement of Spirit and came one step closer to reconciled relationships across the Indigenous/non-Indigenous divide in Canada. Many other stories and the accompanying images can be found here. Let's celebrate the progress that has been made, through the reconciling work of the Holy Spirit!

Learn to listen, listen to learn. Tune your hearts and minds to a sense of justice and compassion. And then to acceptance and a willingness to change.

The Indigenous Learning Day at our church was a day filled to overflowing and the transforming of emotions and feelings.

From “does this really help”…to hope 
From apathy…to compassion
From “I don’t get it”…to a meagre understanding.
From too complicated to unravel to just listening
From tears to laughter and back.

We learned about the generational effects of the abuse at residential schools. We heard of broken promises and treaties. The clashing of world and life views causing a misunderstanding of Christianity; and the misuse of Indigenous people and the earth.

If I had to use one phrase to describe it, it would be "grateful thankfulness."

Grateful thanksgiving for the power of the Holy Spirit who is able to break the cycle of evil and bring us together. Peoples so diverse, yet all needing the love of Jesus in our lives.

Grateful thanksgiving for the gift of Indigenous peoples. For their willingness to share with us, and be vulnerable and give us an unvarnished look into their hurts.

Grateful thanksgiving that they did so with grace and humour and so showed us the love of Jesus.

Grateful thanksgiving that they assured us that by listening to their stories we were already starting together down the road to reconciliation. This was tough for my “do something now” mind to accept.

Grateful thanksgiving for their rich culture of living in harmony with peoples, with the Creator, and with the earth. This is how they live and is what I need to learn.

We celebrated something in common with people we don’t even know.
Are we all God’s children even if it does not yet show?
Life is a time for wondering; only in heaven will we understand

Before the Indigenous Learning Day at our church, Willoughby CRC, I was somewhat ignorant and maybe somewhat innocent of the wrongs done by the church to Indigenous peoples, but no longer.

Before that day I had no connection with Indigenous peoples or their culture, their beautiful art, their spirituality, and their hurting, but no longer.

As a Dutch Canadian of immigrant parents I have little in common with the Indigenous peoples who have lived here for generations, but no longer. For I do now realize we have some common ground—the need and desire to start walking down the path toward reconciliation.

The fact is that the land is given to us by the Creator to keep and steward.

My parents also came to this land not eons ago but only some 55 years ago with a distinct idea that God gave this opportunity to them. Many Dutch immigrants were of farming descent so in a small but important way their spirituality was also tied to the land because they firmly believed that God ruled every part of their lives. This belief is sometimes called a Reformed world and life view. This view means that I can and will accept the Spirit’s reforming of my beliefs to allow me to follow God more closely. That is why I am here to listen.

Immigrating, reforming, rezoning.
We are all Gods children and have been granted the places where we live by him and so in a sense we are all immigrants.

We all need to accept each other, be honest with each other, and work together toward reconciliation. This will require rezoning our comfort zones.

We need to see this as a call from God on our lives. We need to follow the Spirit’s leading and so allow what we believe about justice to be reformed.

[Image: Indigenous musician Cheryl Bear at Willoughby CRC's Indigenous Learning Day]

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

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