Sunday afternoon of Canada Day weekend is nearly over for another year. Like many people, Tom and I watched our city’s fireworks display last night. For a few moments we were lost in the splendour of light and motion. And then it was over. We were back to mosquitos and stumbling over the rough ground in a darkened world. Today, my heart soars like those fireworks. I am grateful to be part of this amazing country that lives in peace with our neighbours to the south.
We have a story as a nation. Too much of that story is filled with pain, misery, broken dreams. Residential schools for our First Nations people were an abomination. My heart breaks when I sit with the cruelty, the ignorance, the prejudice, those schools represent. Canada’s past has a huge red slash. We can and must weep. We cannot change or hide what happened.
When I think about those sparkling lights from the fireworks, I can only imagine the dimming of the eyes of all those children and parents during that shameful time in our country’s history. We must learn from our past. We must make amends.
All people, ALL PEOPLE are God’s precious children. Today it’s easy to hide our prejudice, ignore it, pretend it isn’t there. Still we know that under the surface some of those same attitudes that gave birth to residential schools, some of those attitudes are alive and well today. And the prejudice isn’t confined to our native people, or even those of a darker skin color, or those who practice Islam, or Buddhism, or… Prejudice exists in this country today. And yet, there is more, more than our shameful past, more than today’s often hidden prejudice.
We have a future. We can walk a path of reconciliation. We can develop relationships that foster respect, sharing of knowledge and care for creation. We can do it. We know we can because we are doing it now, one person at a time. We have a vision of a Canada where all are respected, where all have enough to eat, all have safe shelter, all have equal opportunities. We can keep taking steps towards that vision. In Canada, we have the freedom to become a nation of love and caring. We can do it. And I am grateful and celebrate that I am part of this nation, not just on Canada Day, but everyday. May it be so. Amen