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September 30, 2021, marks a new national holiday for Canada - The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The holiday comes in the midst of a year of heartbreaking revelations for the nation and the Church.  Of course, none of these revelations were revelations to those afflicted. The stories were always known, the pain ever-present.  But this year, the light has begun to shine into those dark places with a focused intensity that makes the painful truths unavoidable. Deep harm has been done to these image-bearers of God, and the harm was often carried out by those who wore a cross.

Today we pause to remember, with hearts of sorrow, the evil that has been done. And along with remembering, we also resolve again to join in the work of reconciliation.  This is the true work of the Church, we're even called in the scripture to be "ministers of reconciliation." And so we commit again to live out this calling and perhaps, in so doing, to bring healing to the places where our ancestors brought harm.

Lord, have mercy. 

What does the work of reconciliation mean for you today? We've been told that the first step is to listen and learn. So, perhaps today is the day you will read the "94 Calls to Action."  Maybe there's a story you need to watch - here's one & here's another.  What about something more prolonged? The University of Alberta has a wonderful course you can register for called "Indigenous Canada" - you can audit it for free.  Whatever you do, it's all important. All part of the healing. All the work of reconciliation.  As much as anything though it's about fulfilling the command of Jesus to love our neighbour. And, after all, isn't this the heart of anything that is truly important.

First Nations members of our church and our community, we love you. We celebrate you today. Thank you for sharing these unceded territories with us; the land of our common Creator.  The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.