"the very stones will cry out" — Luke 19:40
River rocks are a powerful symbol, used in "The Act of Repentance Toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous Peoples" Friday evening, April 27.
Rocks are some of earth's oldest material. Jesus himself referred to the ability for even the stones "to cry out" if injustice is hushed up. Stones once used to hurt can becomes stones used to remind us to listen.
As worship began, enlivened by worship artist Marcus Briggs-Cloud from the Maskoke Nation, I was prayerfully aware of the presence in Mississippi of the Choctaw people. As stories of genocide and removal were told, I remembered what I have learned about the Choctaw and The Trail of Tears. As I took a rock from the worship center, my prayers were for our life together in Mississippi as we remember our history, continue our repenting, and continue our movement toward God's redemptive future.
Times like this service of worship connect us powerfully with God, the source of our shared life on this planet. Times like this also connect us powerfully with one another.
May we be open to learning even what is painful. May we be willing to weep over the guilt in our culture that includes us. May we repent and turn around and participate in the new creation brought by our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
With gratitude for our life together in Christ,
Hope Morgan Ward