Dear Dialogue Partners,
Sunday I preached on the "Language of Repentance."
I struggled to think of times and places where a nation repented. Several of you were quick to remind me of certain acts of public penitence.
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, under the leadership of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, worked hard to repair the brokenness caused by the practices of apartheid.
Many efforts have been made to honor the victims of the Holocaust. The Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem was a heroic effort to name those whose lives were lost.
The Smithsonian Museum system has put together amazing museums that tell the story of the Holocaust, the African American struggle in our nation for civil rights. The Native American Museum does a powerful job opening the native world to us.
In our own region there are numerous efforts to tell the story of the Japanese incarceration during WWII and the attempts to make amends.
Several people commented to me about the “Acknowledgment of the Land” statement that Elder Gail Black read at the installation service before we were called to worship.
The General Assembly of the PCUSA has called every governing body, including each session to become aware of the people who inhabited the land before the white settlers arrived. There have been apologies offered by church and state. The native leaders I have known in the PNW have said, "stop apologizing and get to know us and our traditions and respect us and work as partners in this nation."
It has been my privilege to serve with leaders from many tribes especially on the Puyallup reservation, (where my Mother the Rev. Iris W. Martin was Pastor of the Church of the Indian Fellowship for 12 years. There were 22 native tribes represented in that congregation.) the Colville, Yakama, and Nez Perce in Idaho, and the tribes across Alaska.
I carry so many stories - learning the stories is a way of repentance and transformation. There are so many lessons to learn to live in peace and it starts within our own hearts - where we invite the Spirit to invite us into the ways of Jesus.
Seeking to claim the "sweet sound of sorry,"