The Land Our Life

A reflection given in worship at the BC/Yukon Regional KAIROS meeting at Sorrento, BC, October 3, 2010, by Janet Gray

Scriptural readings: Isaiah 11:1-9Mark 10:17-22


The Land we stand on is sacred ground. We acknowledge this territory is the land of the Shuswap Nation.

Oh how I wish that the vision of Isaiah’s Peaceful Kingdom was a reality; alas, it is not.

We are surrounded here in Sorrento and everywhere we go in British Columbia by the Earth’s beauty and bounty – yet we are all only too aware of our collective impact on our local ecosystems. We live beyond our means. Projects and catastrophes like the tar sands, Fish Lake, hydrofracking for gas, the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, the Niger River Delta and such are only just a few of the ways in which our over-consumption and greed are reflected.

However … this Land is our Life. We are human beings that need air, water and food. We need shelter and communities.

How can we as individuals and communities possibly live out a life of a sustainable nature on this sacred land?

The KAIROS campaign this year focuses on Indigenous Rights, resource extraction and food security. The actions we as individuals must make do not seem easy – because they are not easy. We are an addicted people! We are addicted to the very resources which pollute our planet and make life for Indigenous peoples so terrible. Just as the rich man who left Jesus’ company was ‘shocked and grieving,’ we too have too many possessions   – and too many addictions.

Some Indigenous cultures require young men and women to embark on vision quests. A quest typically involves spending time apart, fasting and in intense prayer.  This would not be an easy task. There is much work ahead for all of us to do and I believe we must prepare ourselves spiritually, mentally and physically for the job. For the task is ours to do.

Every fall at this time sockeye salmon make an epic journey up the Fraser River to the spawning grounds of the Adams River, very near here. En route at least half will either be caught in fishing nets or will succumb to disease.

After four years, two of which are in the ocean, the females will return to within one metre of where they were hatched. After laying their eggs, they will die. Their bodies will be recycled to feed bears, eagles, and even the surrounding forest. In an evolutionary universe, ordeal is natural.

The determination of the salmon to give themselves to a greater purpose is built into the fabric of our own being as well. May we call upon the fierce resolve of the salmon to face the journey we must now make as agents of planetary repair. May it be so.


Filed in: Indigenous Rights

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