READ… READ… READ… and then read some more.  Read all you can lay your hands on.  Take every opportunity to let it in.. to put yourself into the midst of it.. .. to talk and listen (mostly listen) to each other… to walk in the other’s shoes.. and to (as best you can) open yourself to imagine what it must feel like.  And then.. well then.. let it do what it will do to you.  Let what your heart is feeling move you, change you, and take you where you could not have gone before. (Or maybe were too unwilling or too afraid to go before.)

Such could be the encouraged response to any number of issues we face these days.  However.. the events of the past week here in Saskatchewan (Battleford) have been especially difficult for any of us to take in and process.  There are easily as many interpretations and understandings of what happened and why.. of what should have happened and what it means.. as there are people. And what we don’t know is much more significant than what we think we do. (Hence my first paragraph of encouragement to take in as many stories, talking circles, lectures, and immersion opportunities as possible.  So that we can get as clear a picture as possible of what it is that people feel happened and what it feels like to be affected by all this.)

The one thing we can all agree on though, is that this trial & verdict (the Stanley/Boushie Trial) has once more torn the wound in the relationship between those of us who now call Canada home (“settlers”) and our First/Indigenous Peoples wide open.  Once more the need for there to be even more honest, intentional work done to heal and bring reconciliation between us is screaming for us to get at it!  Once more the need for all people to - as deeply as possible - immerse themselves in and open themselves to the fears, experiences, sorrows and hopes of the groups involved is loudly demanding that we do whatever it takes.

 Now.. all renewed political/personal will aside.. there should be no illusion that an instant or easy answer is just “out there” somewhere waiting for us to trip over it.  The work ahead is going to continue to demand vulnerability and sacrifice from us all (nothing less than the Bible demands of us over and over and over again in hundreds of verses).  And it is going to be painful and stretching and convicting with every step we finally take toward each other and the future we need to share justly and healthily together.  As the sub-title of the U of R Woodrow Lloyd lecture this week reads.. “If it feels good, it’s NOT reconciliation”!!!  (Unfortunately as much as I wanted/needed to go to that, I had a conflicting commitment!)

It is also critical to remember that the promise of God is that, when we do open ourselves to that which God is calling us .. when we do truly let ourselves be lead into the work for God’s reign of justice & peace for our lives.. God WILL bless that work.  God’s Spirit WILL make its power and presence felt.  And eventually there WILL BE a realization of the hope and goodness God’s creation was meant to have.  Listening and being open in times like these is the least we can do!

-       Pastor Stewart