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  • Fr. John Jennings

Our Sacred Stories: Repent and See things in a Whole New Light

The Fundy Trail Parkway is a wonderful experience. It runs from St. Martin’s NB along the coast of the Bay of Fundy towards the Sussex area. The parkway consists of roughly 30kms of road paralleled by trail for hiking and biking. Along the way there are lookouts for vistas of the coast of the bay. A number of years ago, with friends I had the opportunity to cycle part of the trail. It was a challenge, but well worth the effort.

The Fundy Trail Parkway offers amazing views of the headlands ranged along the coast. Climbing hills, rounding turns the scenes are never the same. What an eye-opener! We saw the bay and its coastline as never before. It was a whole change of view for us. We were able to see the bay and its coastline in a whole new light.

Mark’s Gospel (Mark 6:7-13) shows the disciples of Jesus entering into a similar experience. They had been listening and watching Jesus as he proclaimed his message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” The experience had an impact on them. It changed them. Now the disciples were being sent out to share this experience. The disciples became apostles, heralds of some very good news. It would not be easy and there would be challenges. But they would not be alone. Their role was to call others to “repent”, to see their world differently, in a whole new light.

We often see the word “repent” as seeking forgiveness, but it is much larger than this. Our scriptures sometimes use the Greek word “metanoia”. This is a conversion or a turning around of life, a change of heart to see things in a new way. Jesus meant this to come from a discovery of love and an awareness of faith as a loving relationship with God and with one another. This change of heart allowed the disciples to discover the “kingdom of heaven” among them and others.

Our nation and our church are being called to a conversion, a “metanoia” at this time. For all of the pain and calls for apologies, necessary as they are, the way forward is to see in a new way, a new light. Recently I was forwarded an email that captures something of a beginning for us. I share it here:

So a friend of mine asked if we should celebrate Canada Day. I think I answered her. But this is just my opinion. So, I’m gonna qualify this by saying I am Mohawk of the Six Nations.

Bow your head in sadness, not shame. You didn’t write the laws that made these places. You didn’t run the churches that made these decisions. Your (mine too) government did. Old dead prime ministers did. Old dead popes, priests, preachers and nuns did.

The country we live in was founded in exploitation, murder, genocide and thievery. But EVERY country in the world is. You didn’t know about these children because the government didn’t want you to know. I’m a conservative minded person, but thank God for liberals.

Now you know about them. You know about us. You are beginning to understand what we have gone and are going through. So stand up. Celebrate Canada Day if you want. But celebrate it because we have been found.

We have been near since Mother Earth bore the first brothers and sisters. We will be here when Grandfather (Moon) puts Mother Earth to sleep. We have always been here. But now you finally see us.

Our country and our church, each and every one of us, are being called at this time to a metanoia, to have a change of heart. May our journey together bring us to see one another in a whole new light. May we be marked by peace and loving hearts open and inclusive of all.

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