(noun) the restoration of friendly relations
The words, truth and reconciliation, have risen to new prominence in our culture in recent times, but these are ancient words with deep connection to our Christian faith and identity as God’s people. As with all of life, Jesus is at the centre of all things. In His declaration, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), Jesus put Himself at the centre of way-making, truth, and all flourishing. In his New Testament letters, Paul reminds us that Jesus is also at the centre of reconciliation. We are reconciled to God through Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:18) and “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:19,20). Truth and reconciliation are in our DNA, as children of God.
Unfortunately, brokenness is in our DNA as well. Our understanding of self, and relationships with God, Creation, and one another are impacted by sin – our own, and those of our ancestors. We are a people in deep need of Jesus’ truth and reconciliation work – first and foremost. Without the healing work of God, we are truly lost. Thanks be to God for his grace and provision for the salvation of our souls!
Interestingly, in His eternal wisdom, God has also given us the “ministry [work] of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18). The restoration of friendly relations in our world is the God-appointed work of His people. It is our divine calling.
Speaking truth and engaging in the ministry of reconciliation is messy, courageous work. It requires deep listening to others’ varied experiences of us and our institutions. It requires the acknowledgement of the harm we have done or allowed to happen. And it requires risking our “reputation” by associating with those who are different from us. But this is the Jesus-way! Jesus routinely risked his reputation in the eyes of others to be associated with those He sought to love. And those who truly sought to follow Jesus risked their reputation in the eyes of others by their association with Him. Christ’s love compels us to take this risk (2 Cor 5:14).
Next week, we will take time to consider the relationship of nations. In particular, the relationship between Canada and the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people who lived on this land for thousands of years. This will take courage and grace. We will begin with truth. Some of these are simple truths about the traditional territories and languages of our Indigenous people. Some are challenging truths about the separation of Indigenous children from their families, and harmful attempts to displace Indigenous language and culture through residential schools. On Wednesday, we will encourage students and staff to wear orange and consider their part in reconciliation – “the restoration of friendly relations” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples who occupy this part of God’s creation today. And, on Friday, we will take time to appreciate the rich, local diversity of Indigenous culture through hands-on activities curated and led by elders and Indigenous leaders in our community.
We encourage parents and caregivers in our community to take some time to review a slideshow* of our age-specific resources and lesson plans for next week linked below, and to engage your child(ren) around the topic of truth and reconciliation. Thursday’s non-instructional day may provide space for you and your family to dig deeper into some of the resources linked in our lesson plan slides. If you have questions related to next week’s lesson plans, reach out to classroom teachers or one of our school leaders. If you are interested in taking part in our Wednesday assemblies or Friday’s outdoor Indigenous Cultural Day, please RSVP at the office by phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We look forward to fulfilling our mission to educate and equip discerning disciples of Jesus Christ for restorative work in His kingdom together in this important cultural context.
*Please note that links found in these lesson plans and resources do not necessarily reflect the views of Cedars Christian School or endorsement of organizations associated with these links. These resources are shared and used to stimulate meaningful reflection and the work of truth and reconciliation amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.