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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Reconciliation and Trust

Today in church we started on a new chapter of understanding the meaning of Revelations with the first letter 11:4.  We are examining the seven letters which John shared to the seven churches during that time period as a means of prophecy or voice.  Our pastor is leading us through the suffering that John experienced in his last years of what must have felt like horrible persecution, and his tribute to the life and saving grace of Jesus.  In all John could see Jesus working in Him through the suffering around him.

For me the passage was very meaningful.  Change is always difficult and this year in education and even in my personal life the Lord is taking myself and many of us on a new journey. One that acknowledges pain and suffering which has been experienced by many during a dark part of our BC history; the injustice towards Aboriginal peoples. 

Although I was not born in British Columbia I know first hand how the Lord had to move me towards a new understanding of grace.  I lived a privileged life in Apartheid South Africa because of the colour of my skin. But at an early age I could see the manifestations of injustice all around me, in the way people spoke to and shut out different groups.  Many groups of people lived on the fringes of society looking in, and in education there was definitely a sense of haves and have nots.  I was often called out in school for my outlandish ideas and refusal to accept the status quo and lack of human rights.  As a so called 'European' teacher I spent my first few years working in an impoverished area of Cape Town where political revolution was in the minds of many.  Students were taught from a biased and Eurocentric version of history, one which made them doubt themselves and their own identity.  I found it frustrating working within the confines of the system, and in my naive ways thought I could change the world with my 'Shakespearean' dialogues in high school.  The Lord had me in this place for a while to help me understand the universal rights of all our children.  I came away thinking that much change was needed before a new culture could be reborn in South Africa, one which embraced voice for all. 

Under the leadership of leaders like ArchBishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela South African people came to realize that out of forgiveness, truth and reconciliation a new understanding would emerge. A place where all people could give voice to the hurt and disappointment that had plagued the majority of its people.  The new term was called Ubuntu and it meant community,  "I am because of who we are" joined by a call to humanity.

As we look to the changes in our new BC Curriculum which finally calls for social injustice to be heard, along with the abuses in residential schools, new voices to our history may bring confusion and questions. The injustice to Acadians, Japanese and the Chinese should also be heard!  As God's community of believers it is important for us to understand and love all peoples of Canada, and that we would be known and stand apart for that kind of LOVE.  I would like to encourage you all to look to Jesus for all of our answers and may we rest in His final resolution of justice, peace, forgiveness and LOVE.  

"Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before the throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father- to him be glory and power for ever and ever!"  Amen.