Grace to you and peace!
I live beside a cemetery. It’s moving to see visitors taking care of headstones, planting flowers, or simply spending quiet moments in reflection or prayer. It is a place grieving families leave tributes, and remember. They can find ‘closure’.
The peace and tranquility of these memorial scenes stand in stark contrast to the discovery in British Columbia just last week, where the remains of 215 children were recently found at the site of a former residential school. We are profoundly moved and grieved by the loss of life under the residential school system. As a nation, we have all been forced to revisit sins of the past, as though they happened just yesterday. The feelings are raw, emotions run deep, and there are no quick and easy answers.
Words do not come easy, (nor should they) and profound proclamations are not needed … but the Spirit’s presence is. And so, in His Spirit, we desire to stand with the Indigenous community in this time of horrific tragedy. And we hurt because humanity hurts.
Approximately 150,000 indigenous children were taken away from their homes and sent to over 130 schools between the 1870s and 1996. It is a painful part of this country’s history. The discovery of these human remains in an unmarked grave is so painful on so many levels. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, at least 4,100 children died while attending residential schools. At its height around 1930, the residential school system totaled 80 institutions.
If you want a great story of a survivor of the school in Kamloops, Outreach Canada produced his story in 2014. It’s on Vimeo. It’s called ‘Yummo Comes Home’. You can access the story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2msHfey-8u0
And with saddened and troubled spirits at such tragedy, we pray for the Indigenous community. And we pray for our nation of Canada during this time of reckoning. The Old Testament Prophets had plenty to say about God’s expectation for social justice. (Is.1:17, Is 10:1-3, Mal 3:5, Jer. 5:27-28, Amos 2:6-7) Full healing and reconciliation can only come when we are first reconciled to God in Christ. As we are reconciled with God, we are able to demonstrate love for God and love for our Indigenous neighbours through the tangible steps of action our Creator leads us to take.
May His peace and comfort reign in our lives and in the lives that have suffered such a great loss.