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I’ve been reflecting on the power and necessity of lament. Too often we as congregations need to be ushered into the hopeful joy and hand-waving praise which is far more comfortable than holding space for the beauty in lament. In my journey through social justice and daily life, I have had to find comfort with this discomfort. Lamenting allows me to safely be in this space and know that God is still near. Lamenting also creates space to keep going even when change seems unreachable.  Psalm 61:1-3 illustrates this. 

Hear my cry, O God,

listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,

I call as my heart grows faint:

 lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,

a strong tower against the foe.    

I was recently in Burlington for the Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee meetings, a committee in the CRC that has the specific role of educating and mobilizing CRC members and congregations to live in reconciled relationships as covenant (treaty) people before our Creator with focus on reconciling the relationship between Indigenous people and non-indigenous people in Canada. We work to raise awareness of the shared history and of the present lived reality of Indigenous people in Canada. We also provide lay leadership to the CRC on Indigenous issues. 

There’s so much to learn. There’s so much to unlearn.

Given that 2020 marks the 5th anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s summary report, we took the time to reflect on the calls to action (CTA) to the churches from the TRC. We are aware that they are specifically to the churches involved in the settlement agreement that were involved with the residential schools but we accept that we all are part of the body of Christ. Our discussions could have lasted weeks. In a five question reflection, we barely scratched the surface of the first question. This showed me that there’s so much to talk about. There’s so much to learn. There’s so much to unlearn. The conversations further revealed that reconciliation and relationship with Indigenous neighbours cannot occur without a collective church to church acceptance that we need to decolonize ourselves and our congregations first. 

Lent is a season of emotionally-laden anticipation

What does that look like? I’m not sure. But what I am sure about is the power of lamenting and leaning into that. Lent is a season of emotionally-laden anticipation and lament. Maybe we could find the space to lament a part of our country’s history and commit to a personal journey of understanding about the calls to action from the TRC? We remember every Lent how Jesus died and rose again for our salvation; how do we carry this message into living out our roles as Canadian’s and God’s citizens?

Do you want to be involved in the conversation about leaning into calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?  Contact the Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee at any time! 


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