By Dana Barber, Communications and Member Care
“The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.’ – Numbers 14:18-19
On Tuesday June 1, Rev. Marc Potvin, Acting Director of Church Life and Leadership, led pastors, during Pastor’s Prayer Time, in a reflection of Numbers 14:18-19 and the following prayer. This prayer has been compiled from 2 other prayers offered in recent years regarding reconciliation. Will you pray with us?
Prayer created with CRC and UCC prayers
Wise and loving God, you have created, and are still creating, a world rich with difference and diversity. You have created all people in your image, each expressing their being and living their life in valid, special relationship with you. For all this, we give you praise.
How difficult it has been, O God, for us to be humble and caring. The call to go out into all the nations and bring the good news has so often been compromised by our fear of what we do not understand.
We confess that we can lapse into stereotypes, fear, and suspicion of our Indigenous neighbours. There is brokenness between us as your children.
We too easily say, “get over it”, and don’t try to understand that Canada – our society, our churches – tried for generations to ‘kill the Indian in the child’ by removing children from the influence of their parents, their communities, and their cultures. The scars that resulted are real still today.
We confess this generational and corporate sin today.
We also confess historical acts of injustice and oppression perpetuated not only against Aboriginal communities, but also against Black, and various Asian communities.
For the times we have failed to recognize racism in ourselves, in our church, in our society, and the times we have failed to take action, Forgive us.
For our complicity in systems of privilege and power over those whose skin colour, culture, language or faith differ from those of the majority, even today: Forgive us.
Grant us courage not to let a racist joke pass in our hearing, commitment to insist on equal treatment of all persons and groups— including ourselves if oppressed—even at the risk of being unpopular or misunderstood:
Grant us patience in enduring periods of non-action, persistence in resisting the evil of radical oppression, and faithfulness in working toward racial justice among your people, in the church, and in the world:
And grant us humility and wisdom to discern when it is that your Spirit must come to accomplish that which human beings and groups cannot.
We pray in the name of Jesus, himself the one who is truth, light, and freedom. Amen.
Marc also shared the thoughts of Dr. Danny Zacharias, a Cree man from Treaty 1 in Manitoba, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at Acadia Divinity College. We are grateful Danny has shared so unreservedly. There is more to learn. Please take the time to click the link and read Danny’s thoughts in response to the discovery of the mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School, as posted on Facebook earlier this week. Read here.