We were delighted to welcome back Carolyn Klaassen, a member of our Synod who is Ojibway from the Henley Inlet First Nation to lead us in worship for our Indigenous Day of Prayer on June 19. The service began in the courtyard with a smudging ceremony as we sang "Song at the Center," by Marty Haugen. Included in the smudging were 14 gift baskets to welcome a new cohort of women to their program at the Turning Point Recovery Society.
The service continued with a procession into the Sanctuary accompanied by drumming where Carolyn lead us in prayer and we heard the gospel message proclaimed in a different key. We heard the same "melody" but through different idioms and cultural images as Carolyn read from the Indigenous Translation of New Testament. Rather than simply hearing the name Jesus - we were introduced to him as the Son of the One Above Us All and as the One named as Creator Sets Free. In the letter to the Galations, hearing the gift of faith referred to as the "Way of Trusting" helped to remind us that faith is not static, but a dynamic way of life. Carolyn's gospel message - in her characteristic story-telling style - about God's unconditional forgiving love for each one of us, our responsibility to care for the earth, and that the true marks of the church are not found in elaborate buildings or altars but in the living out of God's reconciling love to all, was a powerful reminder to us all.
Following the service we were treated to home baked bannock by Carolyn, and enjoyed lively, lingering conversation over coffee. . . it seemed no one wanted to go home. Thanks to Lin for hosting!