Last Thursday was our second Canada Day under COVID restrictions. It was always going to be a cautious celebration tinged with mourning, loss, regret, and yes - repentance. Canada is emerging from a year and a half of life lived according to strict health protocols. During this time there was tragic loss of life across Canada. Frail seniors in nursing homes were disproportionately affected. Most seniors across Canada were isolated to a great degree and lost a year of connection with their children and grandchildren as well as their friends. Healthcare professionals and first responders as well as essential workers became our national heroes. In June 2021 we do have much to be thankful for as a nation. Most of us will be vaccinated and health restrictions will be gradually and carefully relaxed. How will we respond as faith communities - how will we help each other, and our neighbours heal? What is Jesus calling us to do about what is happening?
June 2021 saw the discovery of unmarked graves of hundreds of indigenous children who had attended "Indian Residential Schools" over the last two centuries. The death toll was no secret to the First Nations of Canada who had heard the testimony of living survivors. It should have been no shock to Canadians as the Truth and Reconciliation Report of 2015 made the horrific rates of mortality at the schools quite clear. The fact that our nation was shocked speaks to our national ignorance and neglect of indigenous issues. How will we respond as faith communities - how will we help each other and our neighbours heal? What is Jesus calling us to do about what is happening?
Canada Day saw the almost total destruction of Lytton, B.C. following days of record-breaking temperatures. Fatalities and casualties are unclear as I write these words. What is Jesus calling us to do about what is happening?
Our celebrations are muted this year when our nation has so much to mourn, regret, and repent. But I have no hesitation in wishing you, "Happy Canada Day!" and "Happy Independence Day!" to our neighbours in the USA and also, "God save the King!" to David about 3,000 years ago. Wherever we are today we are all welcome through the kindly hospitality of the Holy Spirit to worship God together in Jesus Christ.