Journeying together in Christ

Sermons on Restorative Justice

The Unexpected Truth by Trish Miller, sermon on Luke 4: 21-30

I felt very privileged this past week to attend a panel discussion on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The speakers shared their ideas on how we can move forward for better relationships among aboriginals and non-aboriginals. One of the panel members, Bishop Mark MacDonald who is the National Anglican Indigenous Bishop, made a statement that I thought is very relevant to our gospel reading this morning. “The truth will set you free but first it will probably really ….” Let’s just say it’s not going to make you happy. But getting through the truth is necessary to start reconciliation. And likewise, without reconciliation, we have learned nothing from the truth.

Restorative Justice

The model most often followed in Canada today is patterned after the healing circles of the North American indigenous people & as well as the Maori of New Zealand. Their system served to protect individuals, ensure social stability and the integrity of the community. Much credit is given to the Mennonite Central Committee & to Howard Zehr in particular, for popularizing the theory & practices of restorative justice & pushing it forward. The Mennonites, as well as the Amish & Quakers are well-known for advocating & supporting restorative justice. They believe that a restorative approach is much more humane than the current punitive criminal justice systems. Howard Zehr’s book “Changing Lenses – A New Focus for Crime and Justice” is credited with presenting this “ground-breaking” theory of looking at & thinking about, a new way of viewing the criminal justice system. Well, it’s a new way to non-indigenous people at least.