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 Today we meet out of doors and celebrate Corpus Christi… the body of Christ.  Which is focused on Communion, the body and the blood of Christ.  As we know though, the body of Christ is also the people of Christ, and this week we recognize National Indigenous Day of Prayer, June 21st.  A day to pray not only for our sisters and brother, but for reconciliation…for truth and above all a desire for reconciliation and truth. It is slowly becoming public record, and history is just now being rewritten in Canada to reflect a truth long suppressed, that Indigenous people were and are treated abysmally, inhumanely by the systems and settler peoples of Canada. This included the misuse and misinterpretation of the Treaties , which lead to, at minimum, the subjugation, political and economic of Indigenous people.  The creation of reserves and politically defined status of who qualifies as “Indian”.  Also, the creation of residential schools which we are still experiencing the ramifications of. From the 1880’s through the 1960’s and later, it was governmental policy to separate indigenous children from families.  In the apology issued by the Canadian government in 2008 it was stated that… “Two primary objectives of the residential school system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. These objectives were based on the assumption Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, “to kill the Indian in the child.”.Prime Minister Stephen Harper, official apology, June 11, 2008 It is also an unavoidable truth that the church played a major role in that history and in carrying out those policies.  The church used scripture and doctrine to justify and enforce the policies that separated children and families, not just for weeks…but for years. Now this history is becoming increasingly well known, as it should be, but there is much more to do before we settlers can begin to reconcile with Indigenous people.  I believe some of the more subtle issues will be much harder to acknowledge and much harder to change because they are so deep rooted.  Much of the church’s involvement in residential schools and Indigenous relationships stemmed from an assumption that, European Christians, were morally, culturally, and intellectually superior to Indigenous people.  It was assumed that Indigenous people needed to be civilized…needed to learn how to behave “properly”, they were treated like badly behaved children who had no ability to care for themselves.  Even now much of the racism towards Indigenous people appears to stem around the erroneous and subconscious thought that Indigenous people simply aren’t capable of doing anything themselves.  E.g. managing the land and it’s natural resources.  Self governance and self determination, in government and in church. Or perhaps the fear that if they do, those in power will have to give up privileges and resources they have long since enjoyed.  Until we acknowledge the truth that we, as the church, as people of influence and as the dominant historic cultural expression of this land, this shared land, still cannot manage to let those who shared this land with us have their say without censure or condescension how can we reconcile?  An obvious example is that of the “discovery” of unmarked grave sites at Kamloops Residential School.  The location of 215 potential grave sites caused shock and horror throughout Canada, but not as much in the local Indigenous communities.  The Indigenous families affected by the school already knew that their children had gone missing, or had died and their families had not been told where the graves were.  This was old news to the families…but no one had listened or done anything about it. During the National Truth and Reconciliation Commissions work in 2015 it what estimated that at least 4,100 children died in Residential Schools.  I don’t recall a National Outcry at that point. In fact, as far back as 1907 the very first Chief Medical Officer responsible for the health of Indigenous children in school, Dr Peter Bryce reported that approximately 25% of all Indigenous children in Residential Schools died of TB, one school recording that 69% of all pupils had died.  Dr. Bryce stated that this was due to unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition and lack of proper medical attention.  He was told his reports were no longer require the department funding was cut and he was dismissed. As of June 9th, this year the number of potential graves sites located in association with Residential Schools stands at more than 2,300…recall that the TRC committee estimates over 4100 died.  Where did they up cry go? Well, the cry is still being upheld by the our Indigenous brothers and sisters, but it no longer holds sway in the imaginations of those in power.  The shock and awe has gone from the media, and we are back to ignoring the voices of those whom we, as a church and as people of power, dehumanized. Today, we celebrate Corpus Christi, the feast day of the Body of Christ.  A celebration of the body and blood of Christ; given up that we may live.  Sacrificed that all of God’s children could live into their full potential as Children of God. Yet, simultaneously, we are acknowledging that we as a church have actively and intentionally prevented Indigenous people from living into that blessing.  Each Eucharist in those residential school churches was said, as we say, at the Table of Christ BLESSING and glory and thanksgiving be unto thee Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to take our nature upon him, and to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;  “And we entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion; “  It is our voice, the voice of the church that usurped from God’s Indigenous children the truth that Corpus Christi was for them too… a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice.  Their sacrifice was not needed to be God’s children, that God’s blessing was already theirs.  It was the church’s sin to teach Indigenous people otherwise, to say that only European settlers held God’s mercy and Indigenous children must change from who God made them and be reformed into the image of white civilization.  Even then, to be taught that they would never be accepted. This is the churches grave sin, the lie that enabled those in power to remain in power on the backs of ethnocentric arrogance and justify cultural genocide in the name of mission and conversion. It is a grievous and moral sin, and one that the church has committed more than once.  But if we remember that our sin is pardoned, with reconciliation as proof of our repentance, Then we must remember that all those whose lives are different, whose looks and cultures are difference are just as beloved, just as forgiven and just as much redeemed by Christ’s body and blood as we are. WE do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, Trusting in our own righteousness, But in thy manifold and great mercies.             It is time, as we work towards reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters, not only to acknowledge the truth and repent of our sins, but to weed out the hypocrisy which has plagued the church at large.    This is a time when the institutional church may indeed be losing its power, and that may indeed be hubris at work, but the Word and message of Christ remains focused on finding strength in weakness and power in surrender.  We cannot trust in our own righteousness, it has been proven time and again to be horrifically inadequate.  However, we can trust in God’s mercy and that we, all of the body of Christ, are forgiven. We, who carry the name of Jesus in the very definition of our faith as Christians, need to live our lives in reflection of Christ who gave up his power that all people be fulfilled with God’s grace and heavenly benediction.  This is a time for truth and reconciliation, this is a time of action…this is a time to listen to the voices of those we have oppressed and to speak out for truth and justice. God so loved the world, that he gave his only- begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have eternal life. St John 3. 16. amen