Sunday June 6 2021

A MEMORIAL AND A NAME

“I will give them – within the walls of my house –

a memorial and a name

far greater than sons and daughters could give.

For the name I give them is an everlasting one.

It will never disappear!”

(Isaiah 56:5 NLT)

This is the Scripture termed the “Yad Vashem,” which oversees Israel’s Holocaust Museum.

It speaks for the over six million sons and daughters of Israel who perished in camps such as Auschwitz.

In our own country, at this moment, we too are mourning the loss of sons and daughters, and though the numbers may not be as large, the loss remains just as severe.

Our Indigenous sons and daughters discarded to the soil, with nary a thought to marker or name, is  every bit horrendous.

I am not here to label one “discarding” more offensive than another, for each is gut-wrenching.

I honour and support all who have taken to our streets to rally against such atrocities. They represent a nation’s conscience.

In our Canadian anguish, the taking down of the statue – the name, the memorial – of the founder of the resident school system may serve to sooth some hurts but it will never suffice.

Replacing his memorial, his name, with those of the victims of his government’s policies, is the least these discarded children deserve.

History is history, and it cannot and should not be changed, but we can change whom we choose to remember and honour.

 

 

 

Raymond J. de Souza in Tuesday’s National Post reflecting upon the horror of this week’s news stated:

“We speak of the “disposal” of remains – burial in the earth,

burial at sea, cremation – but it ought never be a mere disposal,

the final casting aside of a throwaway culture.” 1

The majority of cultures on the planet have an ingrained empathy to remember dead loved ones.

On this Sunday June 6th we will be honouring our fallen sons and daughters of the past world war. There are cenotaphs in most countries, and in innumerable cities and towns.

We are careful to include such edifices as the “Tomb of Forgotten Soldiers.” And even though the names of these sons and daughters cannot be etched upon the granite, we do try to honour them in “name and monument.”

Such structures as the Vietnam War Memorial in the United States, carries the name of some 58 000 of our lost sons and daughters.

A name and a monument. A name and a monument to lost sons and daughters.

Hans Jonas in his book Mortality and Morality stated:

“Human beings make three things that set them apart from all other animals:

the tool, the image and the grave.” 2

The grave is a uniquely human construction.

It is particularly offensive that those mandated to care and nurture these young ones – our Indigenous sons and daughters – were of the clergy. The “Christian church” of all places should have been the last place this negligence occurred.

Members of the cloth speak so often and with such passion concerning the grave and our hope to follow. We take such care to remember our passed-on loved ones and we carefully mark the place with monument and name.

 

 

But for these, our little ones, not even a name upon a stone. Shame on all those involved with their care. It brings such offense to the name of Jesus who once said:

“Suffer little children, and forbid them not,

to come unto me:

for such is the kingdom of heaven.” 3

Jesus will never cast little ones away, and He instructed us to follow His example. Some in the “church” have brought shame to the name of Jesus with their uncaring casting away.

In our deep pit of sorrow over these recent events we need remember that though our little ones may be forgotten of man, they are ever before the LORD.

He, who counts the stars; He who counts the hairs upon each tiny head, knows their names and keeps His own memorial of each in His heart.

This is the account of Scripture.

“And God said to Cain, ‘What have you done?

The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’”

(Genesis 4:10 NKJV)

God hears all voices from the ground. And His ears are especially attuned  to the innocent ones.

In spite of our horrendous failures as humans, we have an Unfailing God!

A God who died for us – The Innocent One – and His blood that cried unto the Father provided redemption and healing for us. He is not immune to our sufferings nor to our sorrows, for He too endured the loss of His Innocent One.

There is a passage given in Matthew 2:18 which reads:

“In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentations, and weeping, and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children,

And would not be comforted, because they are not.”

The Lord hears our weeping, our lamentations our mourning. And His arms are about our little ones.

So, as we work through our anger, our rage, our deep sorrows, let us take pause, and consider our hope.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet:

for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible,

and we will be changed. . .

Then will be brought to pass the saying that is written,

Death is swallowed up in victory.

Oh death where is your sting? Oh grave where is your victory?”

(1 Corinthians 15: 52, 54-55 KJV)

Death will be swallowed up in victory! And as for the grave it will be cast away. Not little children, not anymore,  but the grave will be cast away!

“Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire.”

(Revelation 20:15a KJV)

But the sorrow remains, and rightly so. These 215 sons and daughters so cruelly cast aside, many of the community of Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, are a stark reminder that we have fallen far from the Heart of heaven.

A memorial and a name. Where we fail to provide, our LORD and Saviour establishes.

There is not one that has been forgotten by Him.

We may affix a number upon a medallion and loop it about the neck of an Indigenous boy or girl; we may etch a number upon a flat stone and drop it in the grass on some forgotten hill, but He calls them by name – He establishes His own memorial for each, carved upon His hands.

And though we walk away and soon forget, He remains ever near, and He never forgets.

Our DNA probing may fail to identify each little one, but He knows each, intimately, for He formed each in their mother’s womb. He calls each by name. They remain, ever before Him. He will never let go. A name and a memorial.

 

So, what are we to do now? Perhaps Romans 12 can help.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil.

Cling to what is good.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love,

In honour giving preference to one another;

Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer;

Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Be of the same mind towards one another.

Do not set your mind upon high things, but associate with the humble.

Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peacefully with all men.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath;

For it is written; ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

(Romans 12: 9-19 NKJV)

We are to abhor evil and cling to what is good. To cling to the cross of Christ for it is our very life. The holocaust that was Christ’s upon that cross became our release from our own holocausts.

We are to express brotherly kindness to each other.

We are to give preference to each other.

To be fervent in our prayer life; to become diligent in our service.

We are to rejoice in the confident assurance of the hope that is set before us.

We are to be patient during our tribulations being careful not to curse those who have abused us but rather to pray for them and thereby bless them.

And we are to weep for those who weep – to offer shoulders of comfort to those who are most affected by this horrific tragedy.

Do not repay evil for evil but turn our right for justice and vengeance over into the hands of the Lord.

“. . . [they] have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, says the Lord.”

(Jeremiah 29:23b KJV)

The LORD knows for He has seen and He is a witness. The graves may have been hidden from us but the actions of the perpetrators have been witnessed of Him.

It may be too soon for some to speak forgiveness and that’s okay. There is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven. 4

Healing will come in time and so too will come forgiveness. As we turn our eyes from the abandoned graves toward His everlasting presence the healing and forgiveness will blossom.

“Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.”

(Psalm 30:5b KJV)

A memorial and a name. As we failed to provide either of these for these little ones rest assured that God has given each of them both a monument and a name. In fact, He has kept in store a new name for each of them. Hear Revelation 2:17 KJV.

“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches;

To the one who overcomes I will give to eat the hidden manna,

And, will give each a white stone, and in the stone a new name written,

Which no one knows saving the one who receives it.”

 

 

 

Not only do these little ones have their names remembered and possess a monument unto the Lord, but they have the promise of a new name.

A new name upon a white stone. Not some number chiselled into a grey rock, but a name! A name known only to the one who receives it and to the Lord who gives it.

A name and a memorial. Eternally established by the One who Himself was The Rejected Stone.5

1  Raymond J. de Souza National Post Tuesday May 30 2021

2  Hans Jonas A Search for Good After Auschwitz

3  Mark 10:14

 4 Ecclesiastes 3:1

 5  Mark 12:10

 

 

COMMUNION AND PRAYER

“For I [Paul} have received of the Lord which also I deliver unto you,

That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread:

And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said,

‘Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you:

Do this in remembrance of me.’”

(1 Corinthians 11:23-24)

As we enter into a time of communion and prayer let us commune one with another over the distances that separate us through the Spirit and through our love for each other and for the Lord.

Lord, we thank You for this bread which symbolizes your broken body – a body broken to bring us into the presence of the Father. LET US EAT TOGETHER NOW AND REMEMBER HIM.

“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying,

‘This cup is the new testament in my blood: Do this ye, as often as you drink it,

In remembrance of me.’”

(1 Corinthians 11:25)

Lord we thank You for Your shed blood which cleanses and removes all of our sin.

We lift our cups to our lips thanking You for Your great mercy. LET US NOW DRINK AND REMEMBER HIM.

Lord we thank You for this opportunity to remember You for we are continually before Your remembrance.

We thank You, whose name is higher than any other name.

We thank You, that in Your name every knee will bow and tongue will confess that You indeed are Lord of all.

We thank You that in Your name we can declare blessings, and health and healing and forgiveness toward others.

In remembering You we acknowledge that You remember each of us.

And, at this time of refection we remember, on this day, the anniversary of D-Day, our lost sons and daughters. We thank You for their sacrifice. We pray for the families that gave such sons and daughters for our lives of peace and security.

Also at this time, we remember the sons and daughters lost during the reign of the residential schools that brought such pain, and deception and injustice into our midst.

We repent as a people for these actions. We reject all policies and mindsets that gave fuel to these atrocities. We further repent for the death and discarding of these Your little ones.

We pray that we may become better than this.

We pray for the families who have been most affected. May we find the right words to express our grief, to offer some soothing, in this a very dark time for each.

We also remember our own lost sons and daughters and ask that You continue to be that confidence, that peace, that never-ending-reservoir of hope.

And we pray that You will continue to provided a monument and a name for all our victims of injustice and pride.

As we pause in our remembrances, may we also look ahead to the hope You have set before us. May we strive to be worthy of our mandate to be Your ambassadors to a hurting world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

“I will give them – within the walls of my house –

a memorial and a name

far greater than sons and daughters could give.

For the name I give them is an everlasting one.

It will never disappear!”

Appendix

In 1991 formal apologies were given and accepted by all concerned parties in Canada, concerning the injustices that occurred at all of our residential schools.

For details one can check out National Post Comment regarding Raymond J. de Souza: “Historically inaccurate to suggest Catholic Church hasn’t apologized for residential schools.” Friday June 4 2021.

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