Good Friday: The Gift of Grief

Date 28 Mar, 2024

A Good Friday message from Lauren Sanders, Indigenous Spiritual Care Chaplain:

niťtena kinwa? anwesėśhėna
Lauren nŤėshnēkas
ote ke xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Sḵwx̱wú7mesh səlilwətaɬ eťtēŤayan
Éhé neshnabe nŤew. mshkodani bodéwadmi mine kiikaapoa nŤēbenŤagwïs

Hi there!

How are you? I’m okay. My name is Lauren. I am the Indigenous Spiritual Care Chaplain at FIRST UNITED. I live on the land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-waututh. I greet you first in Potawatomi because my Elders are teaching me to use my language first as I am a beginner learner of one of my Indigenous languages.

This Lenten season concludes with Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Just as our human experience started as a loved creation of God and ends with death and legacy, the journey of Lent started with ashes on Ash Wednesday and ends remembering Jesus’ death.

Death and pain are common occurrences here in the Downtown Eastside. I see how it affects the people I work with in the community.

This year, Lent started on February 14th. It was also the day of the DTES Women’s Memorial March. Folks in the community gathered, remembered, and commemorated different sites where missing and murdered Indigenous family members were last seen. It was also Valentine’s Day—a day to share love and appreciation.

It was a day of grieving and a day to show love.

Before attending the Women’s March, I placed ashes on foreheads at the corner of Jackson and Hastings, for Ash Wednesday, saying, “You are loved. You have always been loved. You will always be loved.”

This is where FIRST lives, works, and resides, between the excruciating pain and the deep love.

There is vibrancy, joy, and life here in the DTES.

There is also grief, a need for healing, times when we all are physically and spiritually exhausted.

Instead of fearing grief, avoiding healing, and remaining exhausted, this Lenten season, we explored one of the most basic spiritual practices humanity has—the emotions and feelings of the grief process.

We learned that every feeling and emotion of grief has a reason. Grief reminds us: We need each other.

Just as we are here for our DTES neighbours, we know you are here for them, too.

Thank you for supporting our work to help show the people we serve that they are loved, have always been loved, and will always be loved.

Pama mine (Potawatomi for “later again” as there isn’t a word for casual goodbyes),

Lauren Sanders
Indigenous Spiritual Care Chaplain, FIRST UNITED
Prairie Band Potawatomi/bodewadminwen
Kickapoo Nation of Kansas/kiikaapoa
African American/Black

P.S. This Easter, we need your help to raise $50,000 to provide nourishing meals, tax support, and start new programs like our ID clinic in the Downtown Eastside. Help us reach our goal by donating today.

Share to

Latest news

3 May, 2024
Red Dress Day 2024
read more
3 Apr, 2024
BC Government Announces New Measures to Protect Renters
read more
28 Mar, 2024
Good Friday: The Gift of Grief
read more