(This column originally appeared in the October issue of the Anglican Journal)
For the past few years, it has been my practice to speak to indigenous youth about the critical role that they will play in our common future. The highlight has been on the need for courage and vision. I will say, “If we are to turn the negative things around in our communities, in order for our people to have a good life, you young people will need to show more courage, dedication and vision than the previous generation.” While saying this, two things appear to be present and necessary: the love that binds us together and gives us life and the God-oriented traditions—both Christian and indigenous—that give life its meaning.
Recently, it has become clear that the words of challenge to indigenous youth are also necessary for the whole church. In our world of soul-numbing economics and war-producing poverty and division, we are not being asked to reassert a tradition or to recapture the worldly influence of our past. If we are to become the people of God in this age, if we are to make some kind of difference in this world, we must fearlessly follow Christ, boldly represent the essence of our faith and show a level of compassion toward the whole of creation that we have, in recent times, reserved only for our family and closest friends. This will require of us all courage, dedication and vision, all but gone from the routines of contemporary church life.
A number of things will be necessary to have a vital church in the future. Many of them, without doubt, are already in our thoughts and planning. If they are not infused with courage, dedication and vision, they will not be enough. Anything less than that, anything that does not require more than we have ever given before, cannot succeed. It is ours to plead, from now until God grants us the mercy necessary, that we may be inspired to a life that will enact what our time requires; that we may have the capacity of heart to receive the Spirit that animates all that is good.