Isn’t it incredible what harm can be inflicted in the name of Jesus?
The residential schools in Canada were funded by the Canadian government and were run by churches.
In the name of Jesus, they were established to forcibly convert and assimilate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children; to convert these children to Christianity and to assimilate them to English-speaking, Euro-Canadian culture.
In the name of Jesus, Indigenous youths as young as 3 years old were torn from the arms of their parents, removed from their homes, and denied the comforts of familiar language, customs, clothing, and culture.
In the name of Jesus, the first residential schools were established by Catholic missionaries. The Roman Catholic Church operated many of the schools, and the Anglican, United, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches were also involved.
In the name of Jesus, over 130 residential schools operated from the 1830s to 1996 and they existed in every province and territory in Canada except for Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland & Labrador. There were 15 in Ontario alone.
In the name of Jesus, the first residential school – The Mohawk Institute - was established by the Anglican Church in 1831 in Brantford, Ontario. It is now run by the Woodland Cultural Centre; I’ve driven past it many times on the way to soccer practice with my kids.
(The Mohawk Institute; photo credit: Wikipedia.ca)
Isn’t it incredible and horrible what pain, trauma, hurt, and horrors can be inflicted in the name of Jesus?
Today, many Christians will be attending worship services – online, in person, via zoom, at drive-in church – and I pray that this sobering truth is considered. In the name of Jesus, Christians are capable of inflicting great pain and, in doing so, can gravely and seriously misrepresent Jesus and his beautiful, life-giving gospel message of hope.
Jesus gave the Bible to teach us how to live; He even gave summaries because He knows that humanity is prone to misunderstanding. He summed up His law and directions in this clear, direct, concise way:
LOVE OTHERS. (Matthew 22: 37-39)
Micah 6: 8, reminds all Christians that God requires us to DO justice, to LOVE kindness, and to WALK humbly before God.
Christians, MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE, must represent the love, kindness, compassion, and self-sacrificial tenderness of Jesus to others.
Jesus always had time for the little, the lost, the lonely, the rejected, the despised, the outcast. He called the little children to come and be with him. He spoke to a Samaritan woman when no other self-respecting Jewish man would; he touched lepers and the dead to bring healing and health; he gave up his life to bring hope to humanity.
Jesus would never have hurt or abused Indigenous youth.
Christians must stop misrepresenting Jesus; must stop making the gospel message repulsive to their neighbours, communities, and nation.
So today, I’m calling myself to represent Jesus well.
To show love like he showed love; to extend grace and kindness as he would have; to write and speak words that are winsome, and beautiful; to live a life that illustrates a gospel message that is always always always healing, hope-filled, life-giving, and full of love.
· An Overview of the Indian Residential School System - by the Union of Ontario Indians based on research compiled by Karen Restoule
· Wikipedia online