Reflection #32: Ihu Karaiti the Liberator / A.J. Hendry

Reading: The Book of Acts 16-18

The story of the First Followers is the story of an oppressed and marginalized group on the edge of society. Beaten, imprisoned, excluded, they seek to carve out space and meaning for their new community. They join with the Divine in Her work of Liberation, they are released from bondage, they release others, the movement grows, and the Kingdom comes to earth.

As I read this story I am all to aware of my own role in it. My blood is not that of the oppressed and marginalized Jew. I am ngati pakeha, my lineage can be traced back to the great Empire across the sea. My ancestors share a whakapapa with Rome, they are colonizers, land takers, culture claimers.

And yet I follow the One lynched by the mob. Murdered by the Powers he came to oppose. Ihu karaiti, the brown, indigenous activist, the One who has set up his whare at Ihumātao, who claims back the whenua, who has cried out “NOT ONE MORE ACRE!” with the whanau, and “HANDS OFF OUR TAMARIKI!” with broken hearted mothers.

What place do I have in this story?

What right to the rich heritage of Liberators.

But, Ihu Karaiti comes also for me. Every act of resistance, every hikoi highlighting the injustice of my existence, every wero laid down calling for the land to be returned, for Te Tirit to be honored, every invitation to give up power, to lay down privilege, is a call to repentance, an act of Liberation.

Ihu Karaiti comes for me. White Supremacy, Patriarchy, these evils have dehumanized and distorted my blood.

Ihu Karaiti invites me to lay down the false narratives that have been engraved into my consciousness, He invites me to give up everything, to lay down my pursuit of wealth, prosperity, and the individualists dream, to become one with the poor, to become human.

Ihu Karaiti, is working towards the Liberation and reconciliation of all people. Can you hear him cry?

Come follow me. Deny yourself, lay down your white privilege and pride. Listen. Serve. Let go.

He’s calling us back. To freedom. To salvation. To awaken to our humanity.

The only question left is, will we follow?

A.J. Hendry

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