By Pr. Rhoda Klein Miller
June 21 isn’t just the start of summer, in Canada it marks National Indigenous Peoples Day. The xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations are stewards of the unceded land we have the privilege to gather and worship on. We also recognize the suffering as well as significant contributions of aboriginal peoples in our city, including OAC member Suzette Amaya who is part of Vancouver’s Urban Indigenous advisory committee.
The temporary housing units on Heather street set up teepee and welcomed the community to a BBQ feast this week. Elders shared dances, drum songs and stories from Coast Salish culture. A dancer explained he wore deer hooves around his ankles as audible reminders to shake off negativity when joining a community gathering. In his closing remarks a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh elder encouraged everyone to learn and honour their ancestral language and culture.
We may have Canadian, Latin, African, Asian or European heritage but if we trace our lineage back far enough we are all descendants of Noah, a family whose culture revolved around knowing and worshipping their Creator.
God’s call to disperse and fill the earth (Gen 9:1) resulted in amazing diversity and a myriad of unique cultural expressions. It is a long standing tradition for OAC to host a Multicultural Sabbath celebration each year. God is pleased to have the fullness of His creation reconciled to Him in unity of worship (Col 1:19-20). Jesus’ incarnation unites him with every born human, and His sacrificial life and death was a gift offered for each individual to accept. Our response regardless of the instrument or language, is joyous and beautiful. What songs are you singing to express your gratitude for who Jesus is and what He is accomplishing?