As spiritual leaders in Ridge Meadows we are overwhelmed by recent news from Kamloops.  It is hard to comprehend the sorrow surrounding 215 indigenous children whose lives were cut short.  Recognizing that this discovery is part of a much larger story of suffering, we are aware that mere words are inadequate to respond to the loss of so many young, precious lives at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

What can we say to this? What words touch the grief and loss?  In this moment of pain, we lend our lament. One writer reminds us that “lament is not only for the suffering; it is for solidarity with the suffering. We love our neighbor when we allow their experience of pain to become the substance of our prayer.”  As our friends at the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada have expressed, “We lament the devastating loss of children taken from and lost to their families and communities. We lament the atrocities committed in the name of Jesus, and yet wholly contrary to the teachings of Jesus.”

We grieve, with our indigenous brothers and sisters of the human race, the terrible wrongs committed by residential schools and our government. We grieve children taken. We grieve children mistreated and abused.  We grieve little bodies buried in silence.  We grieve the role that the Church (Catholic or otherwise) played. We grieve the evil perpetrated in the name of God.  We regret when hypocritical religion dressed up in self-righteousness and holy mission.  We believe this is not the way of Jesus. We believe He grieves this too.

As Jesus’ hands and feet in this world, we the members of the Ridge Meadows Ministerial Association vow to do better.

In the churches of our association, we pray for the members of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and many more who are processing pain.  We lament their loss – for lament brings to God our deepest sorrow with the freedom to ask, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1).  In time, lament leads us back to trust and rest in God.  But as Ecclesiastes 3:4 states, this is “a time to weep…a time to mourn”.

Ridge Meadows Ministerial Association

June 9, 2021

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