Today we have the honour of hearing teaching from Dr. Terry LeBlanc. Dr Terry LeBlanc is a Mi’kmaq-Acadian who holds the position of Executive Director of Indigenous Pathways and is also the founding Chair and current Director of the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies, an indigenous learning community The early Church wrestled with their preference for their own culture, and Luke writes in Acts 15 how the Holy Spirit pushes back against this prejudice… When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
-Jesus – Hello, oh there’s people here. Hi, we’re having a good time up here. So welcome, I’m so glad you’re here. This is gonna be a great morning. We have a special guest with us. Before we get there,
I’ll just make mention that next Sunday we get
back into the Old Testament, we continue our series from last year on the life of Abraham. I’m very much looking forward to that. So that’s what’s happening
starting next Sunday. But today, today we have
a very special guest. I wanna tell you a little bit about him but first we’ll just welcome him instead of just talk about
him kind of his back. Would you welcome with me Terry LeBlanc? (congregation applauds) Let’s just talk about Terry
for a minute before he teaches. Terry’s, you’re from PEI? – Live in PEI. – That’s where you’re not, that’s not where you’re from but that’s where you’re living now.
– Not where I’m from but that’s where we live, yes. When people say where are you from, I say where am I from or where do I live? Those are different.
– Yeah. You’ve lived a few different places across Canada.
– I have, yeah. – You are the founder
and director of NAIITS. Tell us, now that stands for something. – Right, right, right.
– Tell us more about that. – NAIITS is, it used to
stand for when we launched a number of years ago, 27 years ago it was the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies and so we, over the years began to do more than simply degrees in theological studies or Biblical studies from
Indigenous perspectives. We’re also doing community
development studies, so we offer a degree in
community development studies, a degree in intercultural studies and then we began to be invited overseas. So we’re in Australia doing
a Master’s degree there and a PhD program there and
then so, the Philippines. So we had to take the
North American piece out so that we weren’t being colonial. We learned that lesson sometime back, colonization’s not a good thing. So we took the North
American out and we just, kept the acronym and NAIITS an Indigenous Learning Community. – And on top of all of
that you’re also doing Indigenous Pathways, you’re the Director, Executive Director of that.
– I am. – Which is?
– Well Indigenous Pathways is a family of ministries
under which NAIITS itself fits. So NAIITS is the formal educational piece. We also do indigenous led,
community development practice that is focused through the
lens of Indigenous youth and young adults. In Southeast Asia,
Canada, some in the U.S., as well as Australia and New Zealand. We do healing programs dealing with people who are suffering from traumatic abuse and so we have programs in community as well as training programs
and workshops and so forth and then we also do some
cultural celebratory kinds of things. So we have three family
camps and pow wows now that we do in Canada and the
U.S. that are a celebration of our identity as indigenous peoples and followers of the Jesus way. – That is amazing. I keep telling Terry
one day when he grows up he might amount to something and really accomplish something. – That’s what, my wife said that and I learned very early
on that there are two women behind any man who is
even remotely successful. One is a very good woman and the other is a very
surprised mother in law. (congregation laugh) – So, you’re back, your
background is Mi’kmaq and Acadian. One of the things I think
that’s so helpfuL for us is that when you see the
Gospel through the prism of a different culture, it helps you begin to do the hard work of
separating what is culture and what is Christ. Otherwise the two can start
to align just too easily and that’s been one of the problems and one of the processes of
the church since its inception and so this is a great opportunity for us just to do that discipleship
work through your teaching. So I’m so grateful you’re here. – I am really glad to be here.
– Thank you my brother. I’m gonna let you get to it.
– All right. – So once again, let’s
welcome Terry LeBlanc. – Thanks Brux. (congregation applauds) Well good morning. (speaks French) If you wanna do it in the
language of heaven however, Míkmawísimk it’s this way. (speaks Míkmawísimk) All right, now you’re on your way. So when Saint Peter meets you he’s gonna say, “Do you
know how to say good morning “in the language of heaven?” And now you do. All right, so just keep in mind. (Audience member speaks from crowd) (laughs) (Audience member speaks from crowd) All right, I’ll keep that one in mind. So a little bit more about
me so you know who I am. I’m married to one wife, her name is Bev. She’s back in Prince Edward Island and hopefully next week will
get a chance to see this somewhere along the line and tell me everything that I did wrong. Bev has always reminded me that I’m a very responsible person. Whenever anything goes wrong
in our home I’m responsible so. Bev and I have been journeying together, we’ll hit our 48th year
of marriage in October. So, thank you. So, if you were to see a
picture of my lovely wife and family here, you’d
realize Bev was just four and I was five when we got married and we had these three wonderful children. We have twin daughters. They are mirror images of one another. They’re like, one’s
looking into the mirror and seeing the other
when they dress the same and comb their hair the
same which they hate doing and they’re each doing studies. One is doing her PhD at
the University of Alberta in intercultural, or in
Indigenous Studies rather and the other is doing her PhD at Queen’s in Cultural Studies. So even in their pursuits
they have this sort of mirror image kind of thing that happens. We also have a son Matt. Matt lives and works
out of the Philippines with the indigenous youth and young adult community development focus. He’s been in the Philippines now in Davao City for just going on 11 years and he works together with me. I have the privilege of
working with my kids, it’s an awesome experience
to be able to do that. None of them are married. None of them are married. Did I tell you that? Now we’re all up for the idea
of traditional conversations about marriage. You know some horses and some beaver pelts and things that we could
trade and you know, enter into some conversation about. So if you wanna see me
about that later, please do. I have pictures with me just
so that you know all right? So that’s a bit about our family. We live in PEI, Prince Edward Island. It’s known in our context as one of the seven
districts of Mi’gma’gi, the land of Mi’kmaq people. And so we’re really pleased to be there. It’s really good to be
here with you this morning and get a chance to
talk as Bruxy was saying about this whole concern around how do we engage our faith in
the context of our culture? In the context of our cultural identity. In the context of these identities that we have been created
in and family and community and language, musical
preferences and styles. And so as I thought about
this for this morning I thought about this question
that has haunted humanity through the centuries. It’s just a simple question
and it’s a question that we tend to ask
regularly of other people and it is simply this. Why can’t you be like me? If you wanna be fully
human and really acceptable why won’t you just become like me? Why do you have to be
like you with a red shirt? I’m wearing a black one. Why do you have to be
like me with a white, not like me with a white hat? I’m wearing a black one. Why can’t you just be like me? If you’d just be like me,
everything would be fine. We could get along together. We wouldn’t have any conflict, we wouldn’t have any
differences of opinion. Why don’t you just be like me? And whether it’s Rwanda and
the conflict over the century with the Hutu, the Tutsi, the Batwoi. Whether it’s Croatia with
the Serbs, the Croats. Whether it’s South Africa,
blacks, coloreds, Afrikaners. Whether it’s Central
America and the Quechua and the Settlers. The Sunni and Shiite of Iraq. The French, British and
Indigenous here in Canada and in the United
States, Native Americans, Blacks and Latinos. The question is simply, why
won’t you just be like me? Everything would be fine. We’d get along, we’d be okay. No cultural conflict, no clash. Well it’s also the single
most damaging question in the history of the church. So it’s not just about
other people outside of where we’re at. It’s also the most
singularly damaging question in the history of the church. Why won’t you just be like
me and it reads this way. Some people came down to
Antioch and they said, “If you wanna be authentic
followers of Jesus “you men must first be
circumcised and you must all “obey the laws and customs of Moses.” Now, stop and think about it for a minute. If I were to come to you and say, You can’t be Anglosaxon
and be a follower of Jesus. You can’t be Ethiopian and
be a follower of Jesus. You can’t be Korean and
be a follower of Jesus. You can’t be French and be a follower of, what would you think? How would you feel if
I came and said to you, in order for you to be a follower of Jesus you need to become Mi’kmaq? You need to practice the
practices of our culture. You need to embrace our language. You’d feel, what are you talking about? What are you talking about? You’d wonder, what are you driving at? So here we are, Antioch. The early church, Jesus
has no sooner died, risen from the grave, ascended to heaven. The church has no sooner
set out on its mission, the Great Commission. Go ye therefore into all the
world and make not Christians, not Christians but
disciples of all nations. And they’re doing that and
they’re down at Antioch where they’re first called
Christians and conflict hits. The first cultural clash in the church. Believers from the sect of the Pharisees come down where the Gentiles
are turning to Jesus and where the Holy Spirit
is being poured out on them and transforming them
and say to them, hold on, that can’t possibly be happening. God can’t possibly be
being engaged in your life and transforming you
because you’re not like us. You must first become like us. Now stop and think about who
these people are all right. These are Pharisees who
are believers in Jesus. Now what do we know about the Pharisees? Pharisees are the ones
that tried to trick Jesus at every turn, do you remember that? No Jesus you can’t heal on the Sabbath, it’s against the law. No Jesus, don’t you know who that is that’s pouring that oil
and perfume on your feet? She’s a prostitute, you can’t do that. No you can’t go there and
eat Jesus, don’t you know who those people are, they’re sinners. No Jesus, you can’t invite
that guy from the tree to come down and you
can’t go into his house, don’t you know he’s a tax gatherer? And every time the
Pharisees confronted Jesus about people in that setting,
and those circumstances. Jesus gave similar response. Something to the effect you’ve
heard that it has been said but I say unto you. And he took the legalistic
frame of the Pharisees and he moved it over into
the intent and the plan, the idea of God. What was God’s intent
is what Jesus would say. Even Jesus in the wilderness,
being tempted by Satan. If you ever read the
text and think through it you’ll realize Satan is essentially quoting the text verbatim. The text says this Jesus. And Jesus turns around and
paraphrases the response. It’s really interesting. The law says this but I say
unto you, what was the intent? So these believers of the sect
of the Pharisees come down and say to those who are turning to Jesus from among the Gentiles,
you can’t possibly be followers of Jesus unless
you first become Jews. And they’re simply saying not
obey the laws and customs, meaning the 10 Commandments
that Charlton Heston brought down off the mountain. But also all of the customs
that have grown up around it over the centuries. All of the cultural practices
like if you spit on the ground and stir the dust you’re plowing. Like you can only walk a
certain number of paces on the Sabbath day. Like you can’t lift
certain kinds of things because you’re working, you can’t. All of the customs, all of the ideas, all of the interpretations
that had grown up around it over the course of time. Have become accreted to
it over the course of time were what they were talking about. The entirety of the culture of Judaism was what they were talking about. You must become Jewish
first before you can become followers of Jesus they were saying. And so, so Paul and Barnabas
and Peter and others listened and they respond and they say but can’t you see that God
has poured out his Holy Spirit on them just as he has us? Can’t you see the evidence
of the transformation in their lives? And they enter into a dispute and decide they better bring it to
the council at Jerusalem. The council headed by James
the earthly brother of Jesus and so they bring up to
Jerusalem these issues and they present them
before the Jerusalem Council and they say, “What do you say about this? “Do Gentiles need to become Jews in order “to become followers of Jesus?” And the council says, James speaking, “It is my judgment
therefore that we should not “make it difficult for the
Gentiles who are turning to God. “Instead we should write to them. “It seemed good to the
Holy Spirit and to us “not to burden you “with anything beyond the
following requirements. “You are to abstain from
food sacrificed to idols, “from blood, from the
meat of strangled animals “and from sexual immorality. “You will do well to avoid
these things, see you later.” So the case is brought
before the Jerusalem Council, the believers from the sect
of the Pharisees, the lawyers. Are there any lawyers here? Anybody care to admit it? All right just, just checking. So the religious lawyers bring their case. The law, the culture, the way. After all we have been taken as a people and it is through us that Jesus enters and it is within our
culture that Jesus speaks. So therefore. And then Paul and Barnabas
and those who have been ministering among the
Gentiles and seeing this wonderful transformation take
place speak and they say, but God’s poured his Spirit out on them just as he has done on us. How is it then that if
God has accepted them, how is it that we’re placing
this onerous burden on them that we have been unable to keep? And of course if we
read the text we realize that the Jewish folk have
not been able to follow well. They’ve done the same thing
as human beings down through, we trip and we fall and we stumble and we fall in the ditch and they haven’t been able to keep it well. Why are we putting the burden on them? And so they give us four
things, four requirements, four essentials as some
translations read it. Refrain from blood, meat strangled, meat sacrificed to idols and fornication. Now, question. Are you all keen on following Jesus? I mean it’s a little
slow this morning but, you’re thinking about it, I know that. So if we’re keen on
following Jesus, the council, the Jerusalem Council, no less than James the
earthly brother of Jesus and the rest of the council
say here are the four things. Those four things. So essentials, requirements,
however you put it. Now I know that here in
Ontario it’s a little different but requirements or essentials are things that if you don’t do them, nothing happens at the other end right? You do this or nothing right? A requirement, so thinking of
an Ontario driver’s license for example. If you want an Ontario driver’s license, you have to be 16 years of age. Or do they allow 15-year-olds
to get learner’s permits here, like they do in Alberta, okay. So 16 years of age, then you
have to do a vision test, and you have to do a road test,
you get a graduated license, certain conditions for
driving, certain time of day, no people in the car,
no rock and roll music, no whatever right? These are requirements. If you fail on any one of the
requirements what happens? No license. If after you get the
license you transgress these requirements the
license is taken right, fair? So requirements is pretty serious. So there are four requirements that the Jerusalem
Council says are essential for you as culturally to
be a follower of Jesus. Refrain from blood, meat strangled, meat sacrificed to idols and fornication. How many of you have
gone to Longo’s recently and asked about the spiritual
habits of the butcher? I mean, apart from being
concerned they might put the thumb on the scale right? How many of you have been
concerned about that? How many of you are
concerned about the quantity of blood in your meat? Other than the fact that
it does tend to toughen it and taste a little
different, probably not. How many of you go down
to the packing house to see how they dispatch that beef animal? Whether they strangle
it or something else. Now PETA would hopefully
be there to intervene. You’re not concerned
about those things right? Three of the four. Now hopefully, show of
hands about the other one. Hopefully we’re concerned
about fornication right? But all of them, stopping
to think about the context. Gentiles and Jews, Jews
who are deeply committed to a cultural praxis of
their following after God. Jews who are deeply
committed to the traditions handed down to them. Which include these expectations
that you don’t eat blood. Comes out of Genesis chapter nine. Don’t eat meat with blood in it, with its lifeblood still in it. So there are things that they’ve said, oh we have to keep these. But for the Gentiles that’s not an issue. However for the Gentiles,
coming from these cultures where there are all sorts
of idolatrous practices that the Jews point out,
like meat sacrificed in the marketplace to a particular idol before it’s slaughtered and
or butchered and given to you and so, so there are
things that it seemed good to this council to say we need
to make a situation happen where people can engage with
one another in this new thing called the church. Followers of Jesus from
different cultures and contexts. It’s a good thing for us to do this. And so they created
these four expectations. And they’re expectations
that with the exception of the fourth one I hope we
don’t concern ourselves with but they’re requirements. Essentials, so why aren’t we doing them? Well as we look it
throughout church history we realize that they were
simply to provide for fellowship and an opportunity for
people to work together in this new thing called
the body of Christ and they weren’t about a
specific cultural expectation or otherwise. Now unfortunately within 100
years of the Jerusalem Council saying to the Gentiles you
don’t have to become Jews to become followers of Jesus,
the tables have turned. And now the Gentiles
are saying to the Jews, in the beginning of a very
deeply antisemitic period, you Jews must become Gentiles. You must renounce Judaism in order for you to be followers of Jesus. And then within another 125 years or so, under Constantinious, the Emperor of Rome, Christianity is made the state religion and now it’s a forced
requirement that you must be a follower of Christ to
be a citizen of the state. And then within another few hundred years under Thomas Aquinas, one of the church’s most
revered theologians, Thomas Aquinas would be quoted to say, “Unbelievers deserve to be exterminated “from the world by death.” And then we move into
the Reformation period and the Reformation of
the church is about, unless you look like,
talk like, walk like, think like, act like this, you can’t be a follower of Jesus. Unless you believe this doctrine, unless you say this statement of faith, unless you believe this creedal statement you can’t be a follower of Jesus. And then in the early period of mission, modern mission from 1492 and forward. 1492, where Columbus sailed the ocean blue and we discovered him
off of our shores right? Well I mean that’s true right? I mean how would you feel to be told that you were discovered
by somebody who was lost? (congregation laugh) I mean, right? You know what I’m saying right? Yeah, yeah right. I mean I knew where I was. My ancestor would say, we
knew exactly where we are. What were you looking for, oh Indians. Ah, that’s not here. That’s somewhere else. So in that modern mission
era as we see it begin there is again that expectation. You must become like us. So our ancestor baptized on June 24th 1610 at what is now Port Rome, Nova Scotia. (speaks Míkmawísimk) Within a short space of time, by 1615 the Jesuits are saying,
you have to become like us so you need to come to these
places we’re going to establish so that we can Christianize
and civilize you. And then in the later 1600s
a Recollect missionary, Chretien Le Clercq would be heard to say, “These heathen must first be civilized “so that they can become fit receptacles “of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” And then, and then as you
go on you see the same thing repeated time and time and time again. You see it in the fact that the papacy, the pope in Rome would early
on in the modern mission say, they’re not human therefore
you can take the land. You can do with them as you will. And of course, if you know
anything about that mission era hundreds and hundreds
and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of indigenous
folks are put to death so that the land can be taken. So that Christianity can come. If you know anything about modern mission you’ll know that it’s predicated on something called the doctrine
of Christian discovery. Simply the doctrine of
discovery most times that said if those
lands are not Christian, ruled by Christian monarchs,
under Christian purpose, then they are not civilized people. They are not people we
need to worry about. So you can just take what you want. Do with it as you will. All the way up to the
point where as a theologian when I write theology, when I do theology as a follower of Jesus
and a Miꞌkmaq person there is an expectation by the publisher and this is not the classic publishing. There’s an expectation by the publisher that if my work doesn’t
reflect Western thought it’s not Christian. If I challenge Western doctrine like the doctrine of
discovery, Calcidin, Nicea and ask some questions about them, you’re not like us therefore. We haven’t changed much. The question we still ask oftentimes is why can’t you just be like me? If you were, we’d be okay. So as I come to faith, my wife and I, in the mid 70s, my wife
came to faith first and then she told me I
needed to be a Christian. I always do what my wife says. Always have the last words, “yes dear.” But as my wife and I came
to faith in the mid 70s and we asked the question like okay, so what do we do about our culture? What do we do about our culture? And the response was, just be Christian. Like us, but the people
saying that were Eurocanadian. And the interesting thing
is, they couldn’t imagine that they were actually being Christian in a particular culture. There was, underlying
their thinking it seemed the idea that they lived in
a cultural-less Christianity. And that somehow they
didn’t have to think about their culture and how
to live in their culture as a follower of Jesus but we did. Or there was this idea
that Western culture is uniquely disposed
because of its trajectory over history as a quote
unquote, Christian context. Christendom that they,
that it’s uniquely disposed to being Christian. And so we don’t need to worry about it. So just be like us, just follow Jesus. So implicitly and explicitly we were told, set all that stuff aside. You know your clothing,
your musical styles, your Beatles albums, everything. So we burned it all, it was interesting. We burned it all, you know
we wanted to follow Jesus. We fell in love with Jesus,
wanted to follow Jesus and these people had
followed Jesus before us so we thought, well they
know what it’s all about. But they and we didn’t see
that they were actually living in a very cultured Christianity. It was just a different culture. So we burned it all, my White
album I still grieve it. I remember its place on the shelf. Just that little altar and I remember the sacred
turntable, the holy needle. And the refrain of John,
Paul, Ringo and George. So we burned it all and it took years, years to think through what were we doing? What did it mean for us to
now live in someone else’s cultural framework, thinking the way other people were thinking. So that we could be
authentic followers of Jesus. Took a long time to figure that out. And we, we walked through this sense of not being a whole, not being
exactly who we should be but weren’t quite sure how
to put our finger on it. As we tried to figure this stuff out. And we finally did because
we finally went back to this text and others like it and said, there is no expectation that God has on us that we should become like
someone else culturally in order to be a follower of Jesus. Now hear me carefully, I’m not saying you can do whatever you want. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m not saying you can go
and do whatever you want after you come to faith. I’m not saying you can practice whatever kind of practices you
want when you come to faith. I’m talking about culture. But I’m also talking about
a culture that you don’t question much of if you’re a Eurocanadian or if you’re situated in a Eurocanadian led or framed church. Like for example, I have
to ask you a question. A serious question, why
do you all celebrate the cultural fertility festival
of Ishtar every spring? Or maybe you’d know it
better by another derivative of the word, Eostre. Or maybe, maybe the English one, Easter. Like why do you celebrate
that pagan fertility festival? That’s what Easter means. And you say oh no it doesn’t, it means we’re celebrating Jesus’
death and resurrection. And I say. I think you better go into church history. I think you better look at
where Easter comes from. I think you better look
at the fact that it is historically the cultural celebration of the fertility festival of Ishtar. And I think you better look at
the fact that the church said oh my gosh, look at what
those people are doing. We need to do something about that. So, let’s figure out how
we engage that culture and bring something of it into the church and then change and shift the meaning. You know I’ve never figured
out what the Easter bunny has to do with Jesus’ resurrection. Or the Easter eggs. For that matter, I’ve never figured out what a Christmas tree has
to do with Jesus’ birth. I’ve never figured out how
giving gifts to one another celebrates the gift of God to us and the person of Jesus. I know people say well we’re
imitating the wise men, then why are we giving them to ourselves? You know what I’m saying? So when you, when you engage in your faith as a Westerner, European-framed
follower of Jesus you’re engaging in some things
that you’ve never really thought through that have
emerged from this same trajectory that I’ve been describing. Where people said you’ve
gotta look like, talk like, walk like, act like, think like
us to be a follower of Jesus and then they step back
and asked some questions. What does that really mean? How is it that we can
be who we are culturally and also be an authentic
follower of Jesus? So for us, music and musical styles. So I mean, every once in
awhile I like to listen to Fanny Crosby and the old hymns. My favorite is Martin Luther
and “A Mighty Fortress” and I still envision the
writing of the lyrics to “A Mighty Fortress Is
Our God” as Martin Luther and his friends did brew
theology down at the pub because it’s a brew tune, it’s a pub tune. That Martin Luther took and
said hey that’s a rousing tune I could just envision
those guys in the pub with the beer steins singing that song. Maybe we should get that
energy focused differently and he creates a new lyric. I think about Handel’s “Messiah”, George Frideric Handel writes
this thing that’s profane in its day, absolutely profane. You can’t play that in the
church, that’s popular culture. That Baroque style is heathen, you can’t play that in the church and now, it’s one of the most
sacred pieces of music at Christmas and Easter and
I love the Hallelujah Chorus but it went through that
same, you can’t do that. That culture’s evil, that,
we’ve gone through that as Indigenous folk. You have to become like us
to be followers of Jesus. So I brought my drum to sing you a song that gives an illustration of that. Now if, for those of you who are making a sign of the cross right now, I just wanna assure you
this is an elk skin. My son Matt shot this elk
when he was 12 years old many, many years ago for our food and we thanked the elk
for the gift of the meat and I thanked it for the gift of this hide that I made this drum out of and we investigated the elk, that cow and we were informed by the
herd that she was sinless. She was just her and one bull. So there’s nothing, no hanky panky. So we felt it was probably holy. And the rim is made of Sitka spruce. And so straight-grained,
nothing crooked in it. So it was also sinless and
I just made a drum out of it and but every time I,
every time I do this, people say, oh you’re
calling evil spirits. So did you feel them? Just have a sense of coming
out, falling on you right now? You say well that’s absurd. Well, it is. But it’s what people
thought and many still think if you play a drum like
this ’cause it’s not those. (drum vibrates) Somehow evil spirits come right? So even if I played the Hollywood beat. (congregation laugh) Which by the way, no Indian
tribe in North America ever played or anywhere else
in the world for that matter. John Wayne and pop along
Cassidy and those guys popularized that but it
doesn’t matter what I do people say that’s an evil thing. So what I do now when I make a drum is in the inside of the rim
here if you could see it I etched the word Yamaha. (congregation laugh) It has this immediate sanctifying effect. So this is a song, it’s not in a style you’re gonna be familiar
with and your ears are gonna think about it
a little bit differently than you would some of
what you heard this morning but it’s an old song and
all the song is saying is, my friends let’s come together. Sisters and brothers let’s gather together and bring the things
that we’ve been given. Let’s bring the gifts that
we have and bring them into our assembly and
share them with one another for without all of our gifts
our gathering is not complete. That’s all it says, it’s
not a Christian song. So if you need to leave, please do. But it’s a song that
invites us to think about a very clear teaching of the Scripture about what it means to share the things that we’ve been given and to
bless one another with them. So it goes like that. (drum beats) (sings) Now, thank you. (congregation applauds) Now that may not sit in your ears well and it may not tug at
your heart in the way a favorite hymn might but
for an Indigenous person who, whose culture is framed with this kind of a musical instrument, when they hear that and
they hear it in the context of a focus that is
inviting us to think about the person, work, life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, that speaks really significantly. And I don’t know about you
but I’ve never conceived of heaven as 24/7 lying prostrate before the throne of God singing Hillsong. Not that Hillsong’s bad but I’ve never thought of it that way. I mean I think that
there are musical styles and instruments and stuff
that’s gonna happen there that’s gonna blow our minds and including from instruments like this and with words and beats
and rhythms that are ours. Our challenge is to step back
from the historic trajectory that keeps repeating itself in the church. The question of why can’t
you just be like me? To invite more the questions that say, when you play that music,
when you use that language, when you sing those songs,
when you dress the way that you do, what does that say about your following after Jesus? How does it help you? How does that encourage you? How does that bless you? And if we do that we can move away from the question, why
can’t you just be like me? And we can engage in, I think
the diversity of the church that God has created that allows for and encourages us to be
who he made us to be. And we can move away from
those four requirements to asking questions
of, what are the things that we can do from within our cultures and within our contexts, within
our historic trajectories as people groups that will honor God and will bless one another. And I think that’s the
call we need to make. So thanks so much for
listening, let me pray for you. (congregation applauds) Let me pray for you. (Prays in Míkmawísimk) Father, grandfather, you who
sit above all things created, who are the author of all
of life, all of the things that we see and do not see. We thank you for the gift that you give us of our cultures, our ways of thinking, our musical styles, the way that we dress, the things that we think about, the way that we think, the way
that we engage this creation in which you have placed us
and of which we are a part. And we pray only that you would help us to see the beauty of the diversity of the human community and
all of the rest of creation that as Scripture makes so clear, called upon by you,
empowered by the Holy Spirit, bring you great worship,
reverence and honour. In his name we pray, amen.