Rev. Hilde J.  Seal
May 6, 2018
Rev. Hilde J. Seal
Minister of Adult Faith, Pastoral Care and Outreach

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Reconciliation must produce something new.

Reconciliation is a process of healing relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology and actions that acknowledge and restore past harms.

It takes practice.

It offers a new way of living together.

Be still, and know.

     (Choir Anthem – A Call to Silence)

My Grandmother used to listen to her roses.
She would stand outside, next to the garden...
gazing... it seemed... at one particular flower...
smiling and listening.

I would stand beside her and watch her listen.

I would stand beside her and watch her listen.

Gram understood,
what a ‘call to silence’ meant.

Her roses... called her to silence!
Her understanding of silence taught me to search for silence.

Listening to roses... silence... silent wondering...
are only a few things that I learned from my Gram.

My Gram was fun... she had a wonderful,
child-like sense of adventure and loved life.

I was about ten when I discovered her wisdom...
I experienced my Gram in a new, more complete and delightful way.

I was apparently telling Gram how my parents never let me do
what I wanted to do.

I would ask my Mom for something and then if that didn’t work,
I would ask my Dad... hoping they hadn’t talked.
Typical, I think of most kids.

Gram started talking about how my Mom... loved and needed my Dad,
in order to be the loving and wonderful Mom she was to me.

That made me think. It was kind of nice to be told I was loved.

In the mind of a ten year old... what she said,
seemed to be the grandest thing in the world.... wise.
My Gram was wise.

This morning... still in the season of Easter...
and during our journey of reconciliation...

I want to talk about reconciliation with our elders... the aged ones in our lives...
And I want to understand more about wisdom.

Reconciliation must produce something new.

Reconciliation is a process of healing relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology and actions that acknowledge and restore past harms.

It takes practice.

It offers a new way of living together.

And Wisdom...
What is wisdom?
And how can talking about wisdom,
and learning about wisdom
help us understand reconciliation?

And why pluck out reconciliation with our elders,
from among other relationships?

We will get to the other relationships next week...
today is about our elders.

Earth day pulled us into celebrating creation,
and in that celebrating, I believe we were called to...
honour and respect creation,
and thus perhaps be willing to understand the journey
of reconciliation with the earth.

Last week our focus was reconciliation with First Nation People.
We heard the 1986 apology of the United Church
offered at the General Council meeting in Sudbury, Ontario.

Today, in our journey to the edges of wisdom,
we will touch places that open-us-up to reconciliation with our elders.

When I use the word elder, in today’s context...
I am talking about the elders in our lives...
We will speak specifically about Aboriginal Elders at another time.

Today, by elder I mean:
usually someone significantly older than you are...
not necessarily a member of your family... but perhaps.

It has been said, that reconciliation is...
not so much something that one decides to ‘do’
– it is a process.

At the end of which there may be reconciliation,
but this can never be guaranteed.

Reconciliation has elements of truth, justice, forgiveness,
healing, reparation, and love.

I learned about Michael’s relationship with his Dad,
when Michael was 17...

At that time Michael would have called it,
a Non-relationship. They hadn’t spoken for 5 years.
Not since Michael was 12.

Michael’s Dad was an alcoholic.
Often drunk when Michael left for school in the morning.
He would give Michael instructions -

such as what kind of cigarettes to buy him,
when to be home... move the truck to the side of the house.... etc.

If his Dad was still drunk when Michael got home from school,
he wouldn’t remember the morning's instructions
and Michael would be locked in his room, hit... and always yelled at.

And if his Dad was sober... Michael was always wrong,
never good enough and was called a liar, a thief and... well, use your imagination.

Michael left home just after he turned 12,
and ‘surfed’ from home to home
until he moved in with his older brother when he was 15.

He was a still a gentle kid at 17,
but hard living had made him slow to trust others, but still... somehow... wise.

He wasn’t ready to forgive his Dad,
but he did want a conversation.

Michael knew that it was his Dad’s drinking,
that dictated his behaviours and attitudes,
but Michael wanted to know why he didn’t matter enough.

I helped Michael plan his meeting with his Dad.
Five years was a long time,
and Michael had changed a lot from that sad/angry 12-year-old.

That meeting did not happen while I was still in Michael’s life,
although in his heart, Michael had forgiven his Dad.
It was not an easy journey... it cost him a lot.

I do not know if Michael and his Dad ever had a chance to
reconcile... but I hope so.

Perhaps you have someone... an elder...
that you needing to be reconciled with.

I wonder what it would take to begin the journey of reconciliation?
I wonder what gifts you might find along the way?

We need to consider reconciliation with all family members,
but sometimes, we run out of time with some people.

Often we are waiting for our elder... the wiser one,
to make the first move... to start the conversation.

Yet even though wisdom is found among the aged...
and long life does bring understanding... (Job 12:12)

When we know what is right at any... and every age ...
we need to act and show compassion.

In the Hebrew scriptures, wisdom is given a female pro-noun.
Wisdom comes directly from God,
as Word and Breath!
Wisdom it is proclaimed... guides what God will do.

Is it a parent, a Grandparent,
an Auntie that lives far away...?

Even if the person with whom you desire reconciliation,
has died... say the words, express your heart,
and believe in the power of the Spirit that connects all spirits.

Reconciliation produces something new.

Reconciliation is a process of healing relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology and actions that acknowledge and restore past harms.

It takes practice.

It offers a new way of living together.

It is a journey to wholeness and health.

Be reconciled to one another.
Be also reconciled to God.

May it be so, this day and in your journeys of life.
AMEN

    (Hymn: Who Comes From God – Wisdom 7, Voices United #892)