"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Opening Prayer: TRC Church Volunteers

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I had the opportunity to give the welcome and opening prayer for all those volunteering to support the church activities at the Edmonton TRC.  It was wonderful to see so many Christians (there must have been 150 there), from every church gathered to be about this issue of reconciliation.  I was particularly moved by the number of churchers (such as the Mennonites) who were there even though their church had not been involved in the residential schools at all. 

In a discussion with one of my brothers, he commented on how the res schools had caused a spiritual tearing in Canada, and that the TRC process was the first real attempt to heal that spiritual damage.  He also mentioned that he found in his own faith a longing for the land, which he saw answered in Indigenous spirituality.  Our church doesn’t really talk about a relationship with the land – we talk about being stewards, but not of how we are the land and the land is us which is so clear in the Aboriginal spirtuality.  This was one of my major learning points about myself – my deep need to be connected with the land, my love of the wilds, my love of hunting are all explained by my (previously unknown) heritage.

In some ways discovering my Aboriginal genetics explained so much about who I am, including my sense of humour.  Those things, written on my heart since creation, found a home when my heritage was uncovered.  My dear daughter commented the other day about her visceral reaction to fiddle music…and I commented that I found the drum called to my spirit in the same way that the bagpipes do.  It all makes sense when you finally understand who you are.

Here’s the short text I used:

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to this gathering, and I want to start by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional lands of the Treaty Six nations, and the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. I’m not a member of the Treaty Six First Nations, but we are all signatories to that treaty, either as Indigenous or as Settler, and so I welcome you as a treaty people. I would also like to welcome you onto the traditional lands of the Metis Nation of Alberta, which I can do because I’m a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We give thanks to our brothers and sisters for this use of the land.

We are coming together today as representatives of the churches that had historic involvement with the residential schools, and specifically we are coming here as those who represent churches that acknowledge past sin, and look to reconciliation, forgiveness and God’s continued grace. It is appropriate that we start by formally asking for God’s presence as we start embark on this sacred and challenging task. Let us pray. (I stole two snips from the RC and ACC prayers, as marked)

Creator, we boldly call on your name
As we gather as your pilgrim people
For these next days, we gather to support this sacred task
To stand as witness to past suffering, past loss
And to form your hands and feet in the process of healing.

We’ve come to this place, full of anticipation and some fear
And we pray boldly that you will bless us as we listen,
and guide us as we offer our presence as witness
to the pain of our brothers and sisters.

We praise and thank you for all the blessings you shower upon us,
And we ask you to open our ears and our hearts
To the truths about our history
That we may be instruments of your peace, and your healing. (Catholic TRC prayer).

Mercifully grant that your people,
journeying together,
may be strengthened and guided
to help one another. (Anglican TRC prayer)

We consecrate this place to your service,
And we dedicate ourselves to these tasks,
Asking that you bless and strength us today,
And in the days ahead.

We boldly pray that this process of healing not end with this National Event,
But that the conversations and relationship started in this place,
Will bring continued reconciliation, peace and healing to all your people,
Both here and across this land.

We ask this in the name of He who created all that is, and all that will be. Amen


Written by sameo416

March 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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