Cities of Broken Glass

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Alcohol and drug use in Indigenous communities has a dark history among our people. Due to intergenerational trauma, communities next to American Indian reservations, or Canada off-reserve First Nation, see many Indigenous people residing in "Cities of Broken Glass" from broken alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia.

Broken shards of glass can be found in many parts of our Indigenous land. These sharp pieces of colored glass reflect, sparkle, glimmer, and shine and can be mistaken for a sea of glass, like crystal among metropolitan ghettos.  

Looking through a piece of broken glass, we might see a hopeless and a broken people; however, God sees exceptional qualities and characteristics that cannot be seen from the surface. A hurting people can reflect God’s plan for his salvation—his way of providing deliverance from sin and spiritual death through repentance and faith. God can transform people to a new city of glass in Heaven, “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.” Revelation 4:6

Having that in mind as we go through life—especially trials—is supreme!

The Bible speaks of treasures, of precious clear stones and of an incredibly beautiful jewel—the new capital of the world, the New Jerusalem to come down from heaven. And it speaks of other jewels as well, spiritual in nature. They are more precious than all the valuable diamonds of the earth.

The prophet Malachi wrote of such a spiritual treasure: “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.” (Malachi 3:16-17).

The Bible reveals that God is making His treasured possession, and Indigenous peoples are one of them! To grasp that concept is of the highest importance. Having that in mind as we go through life—especially trials—is supreme!

And God is bringing out many beautiful Indigenous facets

We are often asked to pray for one another in our trials. And certainly, we need to contemplate that. But we need, as well, to remember that taking a broken glass and working with it, cutting, shaping it, smoothing the sharp edges, polishing it with different polishing compound, giving it its final brilliance and luster, takes work.

As with any broken glass in the rough, it takes a lot of removing material, time, work, and love. We have been specifically selected, because God has made Indigenous peoples of " crystal quality material." And God is bringing out many beautiful Indigenous facets, for example, appreciation for women, kinship and the relationship between all beings, the sacredness of life, intention and generosity, and stewardship of the earth. God wants a diverse family in his Kingdom. 

Once a "glass shard in the rough" is discovered, it takes God the "Master Artist” a considerable time and lots of effort to cut the different facets. There are many facets to true Christianity. And God is working to create in Indigenous peoples a unique gem. We have to allow Him to work in us.

Today is the day the Master Jeweler is making His jewels

We are being created in God's spiritual image. “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10).

How can we be representatives of Indigenous church organizations? We need to be ambassadors to help establish permanent funding for Indigenous people for community-controlled healing and reconciliation projects, ongoing education strategies to ensure that colleges and seminaries and congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of boarding school and residential schools.

What Malachi prophesied is now happening. We now are God's. Today is the day the Master Jeweler is making His jewels, and you are one of them!

This piece was originally published on Do Justice and is written by Richard Silversmith.  Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

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