March 20, 2019 at 11:15 am #3271officeKeymaster
Noticings…March 20, 2019
It has almost been a week now since the unfathomable horror of mass murder of worshippers at prayer took place in Christchurch, New Zealand. The idea of such an abhorrent thing happening really hit home for me on Sunday morning as I led our congregation in prayer and named the atrocity. I thought about how it might have been us – we were gathered in our sacred space, holding our sacred rituals, open and vulnerable, just like they were. Except we aren’t just like them. We are Christians, and we are predominantly white in a predominantly white culture. And that makes all the difference. Because ultimately, those weren’t just worshippers who were shockingly attacked while at prayer – they were Muslims. And the reason they were attacked was because they were Muslims, because they were different, because they were “other”.
We must be shocked and appalled at the terrorist attack, but we also must be aware and acknowledge that the reason it happened was because of white supremacist ideology – and we must be aware and acknowledge that while we would never consciously support such a heinous worldview we are, in many uncomfortable ways, complicit. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying we, as a white majority community of faith, are supportive in any way of white supremacy. I’m saying that our embedded sense is that our experience as white majority Canadians is “normative” and any experience other than ours is somehow perceived as “abnormal”.
For example, if you might say, “I have a new neighbour, and they’re Sri Lankan,” you are subtly signalling that this outside of the normal. You would probably never think to say, “I have a new neighbour, and they’re white.” This is not white supremacist in any way – but it is white “normative”, and when this kind of subtle and unrecognized “othering” takes on more negative connotations – “they” (immigrants, refugees, foreigners) are taking all the jobs, committing all the crimes, impacting “our” norms, etc. – then the problems can grow. When those ideas become malignant and hateful they can have disastrous, deadly consequences.
What can we do? We can become aware. We can watch for those unintended otherings in our own experience. And we can gently (or forcefully) draw attention to those otherings when we encounter them in our relationships, at our work, in our social circles, and yes, even in our churches. And we can intentionally and explicitly offer our support and prayers to those who feel the sting of being othered – and this week that is especially true of our Muslim neighbours.
On Friday evening our congregation has been invited to attend a Prayer service at our local Masjid (Mosque). I have been asked to be part of a group that will offer condolences and prayers of support in the wake of the New Zealand massacre. This is an open invitation, so if you are interested in extending support to our Muslim neighbours in this way at this time of grief you are welcome to join us.
Prayer Service – Friday March 22 – 7:30 pm – Al Rayan Islamic Centre – 1660 Hwy 2, Courtice.
As-salamu alaikum (Peace be with you)
Songs For Sunday NightHere’s a way to make your Sunday Night Worship experience even better! Here’s a link to the songs we’ll be singing this week. Now you can listen to the songs before you come and enter into worship more fully! And if you can’t make it Sunday you can just click and listen for your own worship time. Sunday Nights at 7:15pm. (Bring a friend!)Shalom,
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