“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away, see everything has become new. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
The Greek word we transliterate “apocalypse” means uncovering or revealing. It’s where the concept of revelation comes from. One of the things being uncovered during this apocalyptic time is unmarked graves on the sites of former Indian Residential Schools. This inspires many of us to take a closer look at the history of Residential Schools in Canada with an intention towards repentance, healing, and reconciliation. The schools affected generations of Indigenous People. It will take generations of work to redress and heal these wrongs.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada operated 11 Residentials Schools in central and western Canada in which students experienced abuse, neglect, other forms of harm, and even death. One of the PCC-run residential schools, called Cecelia Jeffrey, may be familiar to you because it was featured in Gord Downie’s The Secret Path: it was the school Chanie Wendak died running away from. The PCC has recently released a 30 minute video as the first part in a series about Residential Schools. I recommend this first installment to you as a way to become more informed. You can view the video directly on YouTube @ https://youtu.be/G0OvFo49Trw or through the PCC website: https://presbyterian.ca/2021/07/20/video-residential-schools-pcc/.
Why is it important to become informed? God has entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to us and reconciliation is what is needed now. The first step is to learn what happened so that we can participate in a collective confession of sin. Confessing sin enables us to turn toward Jesus, who will shepherd us through the ministry of reconciliation. The PCC has produced a Confession of Sin and an accompanying study guide which can be found here: https://presbyterian.ca/healing/. In order for the old to pass away and everything to become new, we must confess sin and turn toward Jesus. That is the first step toward the ministry of reconciliation. May we all have the courage to follow Jesus, who is leading us on straight paths through this difficult terrain.
Grace and peace,