Canada. A country of reconciliation?

My latest column for the Christian Courier.

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What would be an honest answer to the question posed by the title of this column? Some might offer a half-hearted “We are trying?” in reply to that question. Others would say that even such a half-hearted answer gives us too much credit – that the correct answer is closer to a flat-out “No.” For my part, I would venture that we have taken some baby steps in the direction of reconciliation, but that we still have a very long way to go.

Now this is not a resoundingly positive note on which to begin a column marking Canada’s 150th birthday. Couldn’t another question have been asked? Perhaps one that would invite more celebratory reflection on our national identity? Perhaps, yes. But I must confess my uneasiness with the Canadian predilection for national self-congratulation, and so my reflections here will not trend in that direction.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has now come and gone, and much meaningful work was done within the seven years of its mandate. Most important, survivors of the residential schools came with grace and courage to share their stories – reminding the nation and its churches of the violence that was done to them and their communities in the name of Christian faith and of civilization. Stories of abuse. Stories of loneliness. Stories of language lost. Stories of families torn apart. Continue reading

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one another…

There’s a great phrase used in the New Testament – a phrase that speaks to the heart of our faith – to the heart of our identity. Here it is: One another. One another. Now that you hear it, it’ll probably strike you as familiar.

            Love one another.

            Wash one another’s feet.

            Greet one another with a holy kiss.

            Let us stop passing judgment on one another.

This little phrase speaks beautifully of the mutuality inherent in our life of faith. It demonstrates beautifully that within the Body of Christ each person must be intentionally engaged with the other – on a two way street. It’s not that only one person acts or speaks or teaches or whatever – rather as one is engaged with the other, that other is equally engaged with the one. Thus we read about the first Christians in the book of Acts, Chapter 4: “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul.” — And so the list goes on as we scan through the New Testament writings:

            Bear with one another.

            Be devoted to one another.

            Instruct one another.

            Build one another up.

All of which brings us to today’s passage in James, in which the Apostle says: “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” 

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