Wild Lectionary: Turtle Island Renewed

10927865_10152919819936146_8083265901206285762_oAll Saints Day –Year B

Revelation 21:1-6a

By Dan Epp-Tiessen

Then I saw a renewed heaven and a renewed earth, for the old order of things had passed away. And the sea was no more—the sea that brought colonizers’ ships, soldiers, guns and diseases, and their slaves, and their dreams of wealth, plunder and domination. The sea which was used to strip Turtle Island of its riches—its furs, lumber, fish, agricultural goods, silver and gold—will no longer be available as a highway of exploitation.

I saw the renewed Turtle Island lovingly fashioned by the Creator’s hands, and I heard a loud voice thundering from the sky, “See, the home of God is among humans, and among the plants, and the creatures, and the ecosystems, all across Turtle Island and across the entire globe. Creator will live with them as their God, their sustainer and healer, so that they will never again be harmed or go astray. Creator will wipe every tear from their eyes and every scar from the landscape. Death will be no more. Mourning and crying and pain will be no more. Economic exploitation and oppression will be no more. Colonialism and its painful legacy will be no more. Greed and ecological destruction will be no more. Militarism with its callous disregard for lives, resources, and ecosystems will be no more. Racism, sexism, exceptionalism, and all other isms that alienate and harm will be no more. For the old ways of doing things have passed away.”

And the Creator of all said, “See, I am making all things new. Bead these words into a Wampum belt, for my promise is trustworthy and true. I am the beginning and the end, from sunrise to sunset.
Dan Epp Tiessen currently teaches Bible at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but he hails from Leamington Ontario, the traditional territory of the Caldwell First Nation. Dan had never heard of the Caldwell until the last few years when the government finally agreed to a land claims settlement. Having recently inherited several arrowheads that his father found on the family farm, Dan is working on repatriating them.

“Turtle Island Renewed” is excerpted from Unsettling the World: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization (reviewed here) a Genesis to Revelation anthology by Indigenous and Settler collaborators that challenges colonial narratives in the text and in the contributors lived contexts.

Wild Lectionary, a weekly reflection on land, creation and environmental justice themes in the texts of the revised common lectionary, is curated by Laurel Dykstra, gathering priest of Salal + Cedar, Coast Salish Territories.


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