Ministry in Canada, Racial Reconciliation
Advent: A Time of Remembering, A Time of Anticipation (Race Relations Canada Newsletter)
December 5, 2018
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This is a portion of Bernadette Arthur's December newsletter for Canada. Sign up to receive full-length Race Relations newsletters below!
Just like that and we are approaching another Advent season, siblings. Advent marks a time of both celebration and mourning, a time of remembrance and hopeful expectation. A bit of a teeter totter.
The communal Advent practices of remembering, celebrating, mourning, and anticipating prompt me to consider how those themes have showed up over the last year in the work of racial justice and equity in Canada, especially in regards to the Body of Christ living out their call to be ambassadors of reconciliation.
Join with me as I remember 5 moments in 2018 that had me celebrating, mourning, and/or hopefully expecting God’s kingdom come and will be done in the work of biblical justice and racial righteousness in Canada.
Viola Desmond honoured on the $10 Bill
Canada apologizes for turning away Jewish refugees in 1939
First election of Black woman to hold mayoral office in Ontario
Humans of New York series on "The Rescuers"
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero named a saint by the Pope
The act of remembering or looking back so that we can rightfully anticipate our future reminds me of a word used by the Akan people in West Africa: Sankofa. This wisdom principle teaches that we must understand what lies behind us so that we can move forward in full potential. This Akan concept resonates with the symbolism of Advent.
We look back and celebrate: “for to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, ESV).
We celebrate because Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection mean victory from sin, death, and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). We celebrate because His government is founded on righteousness and justice and His reign is characterized by steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 89:14 and Jeremiah 9:24). When we look back and remember, we see that the plan of salvation and redemption is indeed Good News for all of creation!
We mourn with hopeful expectation, because the Creator of this world endured the shame of the cross and died a brutal and unjust death for the sake of of love and the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). We mourn all the ways that religious institutions and political empires walk in the footsteps of those of in Jesus’ time. The political and ideological wars that they wage continue to have disastrous and even fatal effects on those who bear the image of God.
Yet we mourn with hopeful expectation, because Christ has invited us to be co-labourers in His work of redemption and reconciliation.
We mourn the ways that we continue to see the effects of sin today: wars, famines, fires, earthquakes, forced displacements, division, and strife. We mourn the ways that we as followers of Christ are drawn to participate (whether in ignorance or in full knowledge) in acts that bind rather than set free (Galatians 5 and Isaiah 58).
We mourn, but we mourn with hope—hope in the second coming of Christ, who will redeem all things and bring all nations together at His throne.
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