As a Japanese Canadian, and by temperament, I prefer to steer clear of controversial subjects in my preaching. So why did I speak on the potentially divisive topic of reconciliation with our Indigenous (often referred to as First Nations in Canada or American Indians in the U.S.) sisters and brothers? The demonstrations in Charlottesville where protesters shouted, "Blacks will not replace us; Jews will not replace us," had just occurred. Here in Canada, earlier this year a young man in Québec City gunned down six people while they were worshiping in a mosque, so I was conscious of the turmoil people were experiencing related to issues of race.
The leadership of our church has been constructing a five-year strategic plan and I was about to preach a series on our vision and values.
One of our core values is reconciling.
With the demonstrations in Charlottesville as well as the act of terror in Québec City fresh in my mind, I felt I needed to preach about reconciling as it relates to people of different races and ethnicities.
Also in Canada, a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called our government and the churches to address and redress atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples throughout our country's history.
The confluence of these circumstances and the guiding of the Holy Spirit led me to preach on reconciliation, particularly in relation to the First Nations people who are very much our immediate neighbors in Vancouver.
I normally begin to prepare my sermons a month out (although my actual prep time is fairly typical of most preachers at 10-15 hours per message), as I describe in this article.
Knowing this would be a tough message to prepare, ...
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