In the Anglican Church of Canada, and at St. Mark’s we will mark this coming Sunday (June 20) as the National Indigenous Day of Prayer. This observance has come out of an ongoing recognition that the church has much to repent of when it comes to dealing with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. A long history of colonization and exploitation continues into our current time with innumerable examples of racism, human rights abuses, and structural barriers to equal citizenship both socially and within the church.
Today, churches across the country seek to acknowledge this, and to commit and recommit to finding a new way forward. As retired Bishop Donald Phillips wrote, the goal is to “find intentional ways to bring forward, in repentance, our participation in the sins of colonization both historically and presently, asking for God’s mercy, forgiveness and transformative power to act in all our lives as we seek to be reconciled to one another and to participate in the redemption of the world.”
Which is to say that, no matter who we are or what our heritage may be, this conversation involves us. Because we believe in the God who made all things, blessed them, and called them good. And who invites us all to live in loving, self-giving relationship with one another, that we might work together with God to build up the kind of world that God has always intended.
This is the nothing less than the mission of the church.
And it has always been so.
We’ve just had trouble recognizing it.
And so we pray:
Touch our eyes, that we may see the sacredness of all creation.
Touch our ears, that we may hear from every mouth of every peoples the hunger for hope and stories of refreshment.
Touch our lips, that we may speak the beauty of every tongue and dialect proclaiming the wonderful works of God.
Touch our hearts, that we may discern your mission in which you call us to be immersed, particularly in partnership with the First Peoples of this land.
Touch our minds that we may witness to your good news in our neighbourhoods, communities, and all parts of the world.
Touch our hands, that we may forever shun violence and embrace the work that you give us to do.
(With Thanks to The Reverend Jeff Potter, Diocesan Missioner, Diocese of Niagara)