When one part of the Body suffers, we all suffer. The news from last week about the discovery of a mass grave of indigenous children is horrific. This tragedy, involving an unspeakable loss of life, breaks our hearts.
When I came to Canada, I regret to admit that the horrors and abuse that took place in Canada through the residential school system were news to me. My ignorance to this history, not to mention the continued experience of pain and injustice that has become synonymous with being Indigenous in Canada, has led me into some heartbreaking and meaningful conversations with others in our community. Perhaps you have been blessed by these too.
No matter how many conversations we’ve had, or books we’ve read, or videos we’ve watched, the journey of seeking healing and reconciliation for Indigenous people is less about righting any specific wrong, but about assuming a grace-filled posture of lament.
Aubrey Sampson describes lament in this way: “Lament, meaning a crying out of the soul, creates a pathway between the Already and the Not Yet. Lament minds the gap between current hopelessness and coming hope. Lament anticipates new creation but also acknowledges the painful reality of now. Lament helps us hold onto God’s goodness while battling evil’s evil at the same time.”(Aubrey Sampson, The Louder Song, Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament)
Someone told me this past week that sometimes it is easier for us to believe in God than to accept that such evil has and does exist in the world.
We must resist avoiding conversation about hard things, because if we do we will also be less able to embrace the good.
We must continue to call evil evil. This is wrong, and will always be wrong.
We must hold fast to our hope in Christ at all times and in all seasons.
The first question that may come into your mind is how do I respond this pain now?
There are leaders in our community who have been praying about how we can respond through grace and lament. We can do our best to walk with them in this journey of seeking hope and reconciliation. There will be opportunities this summer and over the course of this year. Join in with these moments, however uncomfortable they might be—not because this discovery in Kamloops is the first of its kind, nor will it be the last, but because prayer and action is needed.
Lament is the crying out of the soul for what we know is not meant to be. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
To read a response from the CRCNA to the discovery in Kamloops and to consider resources for action, go here.
To read an article about Lament from Aubrey Sampson’s book, go here.
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