An Oracle Concerning Canada

Just like those the prophets warned, this country is deep within its own moment of reckoning.

An Oracle Concerning Canada
Image by Mary Long. Licensed from Adobe Stock.

Isaiah. Amos. Jeremiah. Micah. Ezekiel.

These are some of the prophets we read about in the Hebrew Bible. To say they had a difficult job would be an understatement. Their role was to bring news of God’s displeasure with the people’s wrongdoing, the consequences for these transgressions, and also the promise of reconciliation that would one day come. They often brought news from God in the form of oracles — direct communications from God through the prophet in the form of sacred verse.

Prophets were rarely popular, often living on the fringes of their respective societies. Speaking truth to power has had violent consequences ever since time began. They confronted kings, queens, and the established religious leadership with unpopular truths. They were shunned and ridiculed.

Prophets in Canada

Canada is currently being confronted with some of its own unpopular truths, one of which is a long history of violence towards Indigenous Peoples:

  • Entering into treaties the Crown never intended to honour
  • Forced relocation of entire communities to isolated reserves
  • Stealing children and sending them away to residential schools
  • The “60s Scoop”
  • Contaminated drinking water
  • Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

This tragic list goes on and on…

What would a prophet in the tradition of the Hebrew Scriptures say to the political and religious leadership of Canada today?

An Oracle Concerning Canada

O Canada, your myth is built upon an illusion of peace,
yet your temples rest upon graveyards,
where tombstones are etched by lies.
Remember with anguish the landing of your ancestors,
claiming territory not of their birthright,
seeing only emptiness where they had not yet disturbed.
With ink to paper, and finger to nose,
promises were made to your maltreated hosts,
and accepted under duress and false pretense.
Yet, still you despised your covenants;
stitching with threads of contempt,
tailoring treaties to suit your body alone.
Listen! Tears of despair flood the night!
Young ones bawling for their mothers.
Women keening for their babies.
You snatch children like chattel,
Until entire villages mourn,
Silence the reminder youth no longer lives among them.
Yet generation piled on generation you sit, nodding your head in silent accord,
Convinced as you are by the false prophets,
Unaware of the violence hanging contemptuously from your tongue.
You claim the Lord’s will, though it is not known to you.
You judge craving and sloth, though it is of your own making.
Lord is mighty and strong, and you will deny justice no more.
Like fires engulfing the dry Northern lands,
The wrath of the Lord will ultimately consume.
And you will
cry and cry and cry*, the pain too much for your malnourished bones,
Repentance can only lead to hearts breaking open.
What begins in the heart ultimately engulfs the soul’s entirety.

*“Reconciliation” by Rebekah Tabobondung, Muskrat Magazine, March 4, 2013

If you like what you read, be sure to 👏🏼 below and subscribe. 💌

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram, or leading Resistance Church — an entirely online, 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧ ️positive faith community centered around rest, hope, and community as holy resistance to an unjust world.

The Power of Poetry
how to submit? 2023