Ephesians 2:14-16 – For he is our peace; in his flesh he had made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us… that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. (NRSV)
I began ministry twenty some years ago in a place called Waywayseecappo in the Canadian Province of Manitoba, four thousand kilometres away from my home and family on the East Coast and half a world away from Zimbabwe. The people of Waywayseecappo are Anishinabe – the native peoples of Canada. I spent four years listening to their stories of hurt and anger and discrimination and I cried for all the things that had been lost by these people or had been taken from them by law and force. Those four years saw many changes in the church and in the community as people began to talk and share and slowly heal from the hurt and reach out for wholeness. In Canada we had residential schools – places supposedly dedicated to offering the best education possible to the Native peoples… but the dream went bad and residential schools are remembered today as places of pain and suffering. Telling the story has been hard but it has been necessary. It has been necessary for Canadians to understand what happened and why we must ensure it never happens again. When I left the people of Waywayseecappo the drum beat strong in the heart of that church and the drum is the soothing sound of mother earth healing and reconciling her children. Three years ago this week I went to a conference called the Sacred Assembly '95 and it was called by the Native Peoples of Canada to bring together the Native Community, the Churches and the Government to talk about healing, reconciliation and justice. Elijah Harper, a Native Canadian told us, " The only way to do it is to get in touch with our spiritual roots – to become reconciled with our Creator, with ourselves and with each other."
Prayer: Creator God, let us listen for your voice in the voice of your people and in the peacemakers of the world. May your voice speak to us of peace and reconciliation through Jesus Christ who is our Price of Peace. Amen.