“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” – Romans 12:15,16
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” – Psalm 27:13-14
“The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” – Job 5:11
Recently, hundreds of unmarked graves have been found near residential schools where children’s bodies were buried without a marker or a record of their identity. Most of their parents were never told of their death. For the families, many of the children just disappeared without information or closure. The only thing these parents knew was that their children were required to attend the residential school and they never returned home.
Last month, there was yet another discovery of more unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, this after finding a similar finding on the Cowessess Reserve in Saskatchewan in June. At each of these former schools, hundreds of children’s remains were discovered. The government sponsored schools were required for all native American children to attend and were unfortunately administered by local church organizations. It’s a complicated and terrible history of 100 years that includes forced assimilation, disease, the Spanish flu pandemic, along with deplorable living quarters.
As followers of Jesus, what are we to do with these stories as they come to light? What do native American people need? Maybe we can heed the advice given by Vincent Yellow Old Woman, a Blackfoot Chief who recently remarked, “We don’t want pity but we ask for understanding. Understanding will come when truth and facts are no longer buried.”
In ancient Rome, Paul encouraged the Christians living living in great persecution and brutality to “mourn with those that mourn and to do all that you can to live at peace with everyone.” He called the church to not react or respond with solutions, but rather be present, listen and allow their hearts to reflect the gravity of the situation in the presence of God.
Together we can mourn with and pray for the Native American communities. These stories are traumatic and will reverberate for years. We should also lift up in prayer those that minister in Native American communities that they would be agents of grace and compassion. They need your prayers and support during these difficult days.
One of the ministries we partner with is 4 Winds Camp in Montana. They serve various people groups within the native American communities, especially the youth. I’ll attach a link if you want to send a special gift their way through mBridge.
Thank you as always for your encouragement and support,
Prayer: “Lord we thank you that every tribe and nation belongs to you. We pray for those that are experiencing pain at this time and pray that you would comfort and strengthen them, their leaders and those that minister in Jesus name. May they know that there are believers around the world that are standing with them at this time. Support them, comfort them and make them strong in the healing name of Jesus — Amen.