I may be late to the altar but three verses in the text for this Sunday drew me into a deeper examination of the issues faced by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and indeed Indigenous Peoples across Canada and all Canadians as we wrestle with truth and reconciliation. The three verses are
So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. (Matthew 5:23-25)
The Indigenous Peoples of this land ‘has something against’ us – racism, a history of cultural genocide and a continuing posture of colonialism that leads to refusal to negotiate Nation to Nation.
As settler people still in conflict with the First Peoples of this Land and others we have historically dominated, sought to control and even eradicate, we must leave our gift before the altar and seek reconciliation – and part of this seeking involves listening to the truths of those who have issue with us.
On Sunday February 16th as part of our Sunday Gathering I will wrestle with these three verses within the larger context of Matthew 5:17-37. Following the Benediction we will be screening the 20 minute documentary Invasion as produced by the Unistoten Camp with an opportunity for discussion amongst those gathered. The goal is to listen and learn. There’ll be coffee and tea and snacks. Bring a brown bag lunch if you wish.