This Lent we invite you to enter into the themes of this prayer guide in the hopes that our commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation would re-shape us as people of faith. Allow these prayers and exercises to come into dialogue with news you are hearing on these topics.
Every article in this declaration comes from a time when a right has been violated or outright denied to Indigenous peoples. As you reflect on these articles, let that sink in: for each article there is a contemporary example of violation of that right. What is our call as Christians as we bear witness to such profound brokenness of relationships and denial of justice?
Please take the time this Lenten season to pray. Pray for understanding, lament what is broken, and ask for wisdom and courage to change the systems that deny Indigenous rights—rights that are still out of reach.
In the words of Cheryl Bear, a Nadleh Whut’en woman and Christian leader:
“Ultimately we long for a better day for our children and grandchildren.
We are not asking for any more than what is rightfully and respectfully ours. Justice is an attribute of Creator who walked in human form to reconcile God and man, and who will one day make all things right. Our careful steps towards reconciliation together are joining with the heart of our beloved Creator.”
How to use this guide:
We’ve connected each of the 6 weeks of Lent to one or two themes in the Declaration, such as self-determination, and offered exercises and prayers for each week. Alone or (even better!) with a group, take the week to read the articles and reflect on the theme through the suggested prayers and exercises. For weeks with two themes, consider beginning your reflections on the first theme on Sunday and on the second theme on Wednesday.
We intentionally haven’t packed this reflection guide tight with material to give you time to sit with the uncomfortable truths of the violations of Indigenous rights and to hold prayers of lament and hope before Creator God thoughtfully. The road of dehumanization of Indigenous peoples and colonization has been a long one, and the road of full recognition of Indigenous rights and learning to walk together in the Two Row Wampum way is likewise a journey of more than a day, and more than a season.
Let us join our hearts and prayers. Let us walk together.
Curious about the CRC's involvement with this Declaration? You can read the CRC in Canada's affirmation of the Declaration in this 2016 statement.