This coming Sunday will be an occasion to remember! For one, it’s Father’s Day. We will be offering specific prayers for God’s blessing on fathers. We don’t usually single out one specific group in the Church, though we do the same on Mother’s Day for mothers, but on a day that is observed by many by disassociating themselves from their regular schedules or routines (preferring rest, fishing, or some other hobby that encourages calm in them), we will be making special observance of them, for them. There’s something significant about that. A part of what the Church does is stand in the gap between God and humans, even when people are unable to seek Him themselves.
In conjunction with Father’s Day, however, we also take this Sunday to gather our high school graduates together and to give them a proper “sending out,” as members of our faith community, into the world. We will hear their plans for the future; we will pray for their futures. There are some key ways that these two emphases complement one another: fathers are key figures in the development of children and the formation of young adults; the presence of key adult figures at times of passage rites is crucial for the transfer from dependency to independence, and the changing of mindset. So these work well together.
This year it also happens to be that this Sunday is June 21, which is National Aboriginal Day. At the national level, our church has set apart this day (even to override regular Sunday observance!) as a time of special prayer and thanksgiving for our aboriginal peoples (First Nations, Inuit, and Metis). This year is an especially critical year for this observance, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has just finished its years long work towards healing of wounds caused by national policies that led to the Residential Schools’ crisis, among other culturally genocidal programmes.
It is at this point that we want to break with the legacy of the “fathers,” who put such policies in place and caused so much hurt to so many people. We want to work together to help build a future: one that we needn’t be ashamed of; one where the peoples of our country are able to live in harmony with one another. So at the office over the past few days we’ve been gathering the service material shared by different offices in our national church, so that we can be a part of the work of reconciliation.
This Friday and Sunday at noon our bells will ring again, 1181 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. Let us work for peace!