This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, June 25, 2021
This week I’ve been feeling particularly aware of the exhaustion that comes with hearing the news. I’m not referring to my own reactions of the heart, mind, and spirit, although I do feel weary and worn, trying to take in the magnitude of it all. Far more importantly, the exhaustion of which I am painfully aware is that of our Indigenous siblings: the exhaustion they increasingly name, in response to settlers’ ‘discovery’ of institutionalized, chronic racism and the genocide it fuelled, across this land. Indigenous peoples are not monolithic, of course, with complex and beautiful diversity in culture, history, and voice, but there is a piece of emotional expression seems to find unity in this: in their exhaustion at the shock and dismay of the Canadian population as a whole; by our tearful hand-wringing that may be genuine, but too often stays stranded in that place of observation. Now that our ignorance has been shattered, for good and for certain, I hope, what are we going to do? What am I going to do?
I know that’s not anything close to the cheery-cheery, flag-waving message one might anticipate on this Sunday, mid-way through our civic year. I don’t want to diminish the privilege we have to be Canadian. I give thanks regularly for living in this part of the world, with enormous opportunities and freedoms. Living here, though, I also know the responsibility instilled, all through my education, to be active and change-agent citizens. To flip into theological speak, John Wesley understood responsibility in its compound form: response-ability. He wrote and preached about the gift of responding to God’s call on our hearts. Granted, he wrote in 18th century salvific terminology, but I hang on to his deconstruction of the word itself. I hang on to, and feel so very challenged by, the response-ability that God places upon our hearts to respond to the world around us: to be active and change-agent followers of Jesus… even and especially when we’re exhausted by the truth; and especially when our collective unresponsiveness leaves our Indigenous siblings exhausted to their core.
I don’t yet have a comprehensiveness answer to my own question. What am I going to do? How will I be part of the justice-seeking, transformative work, and not just an observer and spouter of facts? I have so much to do and learn, but for this very moment, I give thanks for the next generation of Canadians, who are equally baffled and exhausted by it all. I give thanks for the gift of witnessing our Abbey and a small group of her classmates, move through their very last high school English assignment: their summative project, that ended up saying as much about their refined social literacy as it did their speaking and writing. I’ll tell you more about on Sunday morning, but I hope in a way that amounts to much more than a proud parent moment. I hope it speaks to hope, and the change that cannot wait. I hope it speaks to faith, and thanksgiving, that God isn’t finished with us yet. The Spirit doesn’t tire when it comes to calling us into right relations. Thanks be to God, for this extraordinary response-ability.
With love, and with thanks for you all,
“There is room for all in the shadow of God’s wing; there is room for all, sheltered in God’s love.” (Bruce Harding, More Voices 62)