Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!
This week’s devotion comes to you with a heavy heart for all our Indigenous communities and Canada. Please bear with me. May we learn from past mistakes so that they may never be repeated.
Readings for July 18, 2021: Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-44
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. . . .This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior. Jeremiah 23: 1-5, 6b
The writing of this devotion comes at a heartbreaking time in Canada, especially for our Indigenous brothers and sisters, but also for all Canadians. This past week and the weeks prior, have uncovered unmarked graves of over one thousand Indigenous children in Western Canada, while further searching across all of Canada is being done for more precious souls.
Oh how this week’s reading is so relevant to the injustices that were led by Canadian and Christian institutions. We May never fully know the circumstances surrounding their deaths, but the fact that residential schools existed at all is grievous. Oh how my heart aches for all these precious children and their families.
Unfortunately, this evil is not the only travesty in Canada’s, nor the world’s, history. We can see throughout all of history that humankind is capable of horrific things; terrible things that are done to other human beings; even things that are done in the name of God. However, let’s get one thing straight. These acts are not from God. These acts are done by sinful people. No, God had no part in any of it. God hates sin and he knows humankind is steeped in it. The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5
Yes, God sees all terrible, unloving, evil actions and they grieve him. He aches for the burdened souls at the hand of others. He despises the evil that man does. Yet, he loves his creation. He loves the human race – you and me, despite our sin. That is the whole reason Jesus left his Heavenly home to live the perfect life we needed to live but couldn’t, and then died the wretched death that our sin deserves. He paid the penalty of our sin- each and every sin of every humanbeing, no matter how big or small. Then he conquered death with his resurrection, so that all people can conquer death and inherit eternal life, as they trust in him.
Despite the misguided, convoluted, ungodly actions of others, may we trust that Jesus’ loving arms surround each and every precious soul that was at another person’s mercy. May we be able to live in the trust that God’s love in Jesus is enough and trust him when he says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19
In the meantime, may we all pray for those corporate institutions and individuals to come forward in repentance. Confession and absolution is the cornerstone to healing and fellowship with the Lord. Therefore, for those that have sinned against others, may they receive God’s humility and courage to acknowledge their sin before God and those they’ve harmed. And May they receive full and unconditional forgiveness. Only then can true healing occur.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us! You created all people and we are to build up and love one another. We are to show Jesus’ love and sacrifice through our own lives. Forgive us for all those times we fail. Please bestow humility and courage upon those institutional representatives and individuals to truly repent of any unresolved sinful action and that forgiveness be extended, so that all peoples and families can begin healing. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!