For the next few days I will reflect on our experiences last week with the Tsawout Assembly of Praise. We ran a camp with the church for children on the Tsawout reserve. The week was one of tremendous difficulties but also tremendous blessings. Cityview went to Tsawout in response to an invitation to join in the ministry of the church there. I had a few inklings into how difficult it might be but the reality was much stronger than I had anticipated. I must say up front that God has placed a deep love and appreciation for the children and families there.
Reflected in the faces and behaviour of some of these children was great resentment and hurt. I and my children became targets of hostility toward “white” people. In a moment’s notice this button could be activated with stone throwing, name calling, and punches. I respect the need for even children to find their own way through this pain. The Gospel and incarnational living on the part of followers of Jesus from many tribes or ethne seems to me to be part of God’s way. The Gospel provides an edge for kindness and dialogue. As well the Gospel provides the transforming power of God to pull that bitter root out of our hearts.
My dual challenge in this setting was to not only be available to the children on the reserve but also to be available to my own children as they confronted for the first time such dramatic levels of hostility. Teaching my own children the way of Jesus through modeling, conversation, and correction was not easy. What we were doing as a family in response to Jesus through is small though in comparison to others I met during the week. Other believers have been set by God as agents of reconciliation in that setting for weeks, months, and years. Their challenge for taking hold of the grace of Jesus is much greater than my own and I respect them deeply.
One afternoon we had to stop and pray as a team for my children that God would help them confront the resentment that seeks to take root in their own hearts. It seems that the lord of the flies is always at work to poison hearts and to take captives. But Jesus is greater than our hearts.