Greetings! “‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’” - Mark 28b-31
On Valentine’s Day I was invited to a march in downtown Montreal to raise awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgender, and 2-Spirit people (MMIWGT2S). I was not able to attend in person, but my heart was with them. At the 2021 General Assembly, the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was accepted by the church. You can find the report here: https://mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report.
Since Lent of 2021, I have been educating myself on this issue. What I have learned is that Indigenous women and girls make up 24% of all female homicide victims, while only representing 4% of the population of Canada. Add to that, the number who are missing, which is higher. This problem continues unabated, and yet, over the last year as I have been thinking about this, I have never received an Amber Alert on my phone for a missing Indigenous child. Nor have I seen news coverage about missing Indigenous women.
As I have been preaching through each of the four Gospels over the last four years, I have been struck by how intentional Jesus is about building up our common humanity with the “other” or the “outcast”. Think of how Jesus protected the woman we read about on Sunday from murder by an incited crowd (John 7:53-8:11). Some there that day thought she deserved it, but Jesus showed us that she did not deserve it and he saved her life. As Jesus followers, how can we show the same compassion and love to our Indigenous neighbours? How can we work to make Canada a safe place for Indigenous women, girls, transgender, and two-spirit people? I encourage us all to pray about these very important questions, and to listen to what God is saying to us.
Grace and peace, Rev. Sarina