Three little words…politically charged with the potential to have massive divisive impact on the beloved country that I call “home”. But I don’t want to use this space to write about Bill C-45, Protests or Hunger Strikes. I believe that the Idle No More Movement is about something far greater than all of that.
As the prayer drums beat in public squares across Canada and around the world, the prayers of my heart beat for what I believe Idle No More was truly meant for… peace, reconciliation, justice and healing. For generations, Canada’s history of colonization and silent genocide has been the tarnish on our country’s humanitarian reputation. While there have been attempts for healing and strides towards justice made in the last number of years, the fact remains that generations of damage and pain will not be wiped away in a single instant.
With friends on both “sides” of the Idle No More Movement, I have spent the last month listening, watching, reading, studying, praying and mediating on what my response as a Canadian… and as a justice-seeking, Jesus-following, Bible-believing person needs to be.
While I may not have come to a “political” stance on the issue, this is what I know:
- I want Shalom to be present among Canada’s many different multicultural people who call this land “home”.
- I know that God so loved the world and that the birth of Jesus Christ is “Good News of great joy which will be for ALL PEOPLE” (Luke 2:10).
- I believe that Jesus came bring heaven to earth…to proclaim freedom for those in slavery, to bring sight to the blind and to end all forms of oppression.
- I believe that Canada has a great destiny to fulfill. Our multi-cultural identity will be a knitted story of peace to the nations and that justice can be our legacy to the world.
These are all nice, Biblical ideals but they mean nothing if they aren’t lived out with consistency in my daily life. And here is where things get personal…If I seek to live my life justly and I recall the parable of the Good Samaritan then I must ask myself…as I call Canada my home, who is my neighbour?
You see, I spend my life fighting for justice to be experienced by marginalized, oppressed and devalued people all over the world. This fight has brought me to developing nations that are more than 12 time zones away… but it all means nothing if I can’t also work to see justice for the marginalized people that live down the street from me.
I want to genuinely love my First Nations neighbours. I want to stand against racial injustice and bring healing to this land. As a justice-seeking, Jesus-following, Bible-believing person, I seek to live the legacy of brokenness being made whole, of new life bring brought to dark places and of sadness turning into overflowing joy.
I do not want to “help” the “poor natives”. I do not want to come in and “fix” things with my half european/half asian ideals of what “works”. I need to stand with my First Nations and Aboriginal neighbours because I need them just as much as they need me, because I have so much more to learn, because God has no skin colour, because change is possible and because we can not live the fullness of peace, justice and shalom in Canada without the healing that comes through a mutual, neighbourly bond of equality and respect amongst all peoples who call this land “home”.
Finally, I have realized through studying this movement and spending time with my Native friends that Love is not idle. When you truly love someone, it becomes personal. When they hurt, you hurt. When their lives are filled with joy, you share in their celebration. When they are facing injustice, you stand and intervene. Love does not idly stand by when it needs to rise to courage and defend what is right.
Love gets personal.
Love is not idle.
So here is my invitation to fellow justice-seeking, Jesus-following, Bible-believing people who agree on the points I have stated above:
- Meet your First Nations and Aboriginal neighbours.
- Open your heart, mind and life to them in genuine and mutual friendship.
- Learn from the wisdom and beauty that their cultural has to offer.
- Remember that Jesus is for ALL PEOPLE.
- Pray for healing
- And actively remember that Love is not idle.
Dressed in my full regalia and standing next to my friend, Clarence Abrahams. January 3, 2013.
Photo by Mique’l Icesis Dangeli
**I want to explore what it means to be a “Marginalized” people group. Stay tuned for a follow up blog with a guest writer!