Yesterday, all across Canada we had a great day of celebration. We celebrated our 150th birthday. There were special events everywhere and people flocked to them. There was singing. There was laughing. There was story telling. But was there thanking God for the gift of Canada. The song we just heard was a tribute to Canada, but there was no thanking God for what we have. We are a country blessed with riches of natural resources, businesses and people that other countries and other people of the world envy. But yesterday did we stop, did you stop in the midst of all the celebrating and thank God for the gift of Canada to us?
As we stand to sing our national anthem listen carefully as you sing the last verse.
Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer, Hold our Dominion in thy loving are;
Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer, Hold our Dominion in thy loving are; Help us to find, O God, in thee A lasting, rich reward, As waiting for the better Day, We ever stand on guard.
who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion
in thy loving care;
Today, we give thanks. Thanks to God for this country. Thanks to God for all the blessings that are ours because we have the privilege of living here. Thanks to God that he has given us as his disciples the privilege of reminding people that Canada is a gift for which we are responsible and accountable.
Help us to find, O God, in thee A lasting, rich reward, As waiting for the better Day,
O God, in thee
A lasting, rich reward,
O Canada - our home and native land - a gift from God
As waiting for the better Day,
We ever stand on guard.
We live in a glorious country. People around the world really do admire us. People fleeing war and persecution seek to immigrate here. We as a country have and are opening our arms to them. And so it should be. We live in a world that is an instagram message away. A smartphone video can now reveal what is happening on the other side of the world, as it happens. Movement of people across the globe is no longer just for the rich and privileged. And so Canada is a preferred destination for people seeking a new life. We welcome them with open arms.
We live in a world that is an instagram message away. A smartphone video can now reveal what is happening on the other side of the world, as it happens. Movement of people across the globe is no longer just for the rich and privileged. And so Canada is a preferred destination for people seeking a new life. We welcome them with open arms.
As we do so we need to remember that we are welcoming them not to our country as if we possess it, as if it were our own personal property. We do not own Canada, we do not own this world in which we live. Canada, and the world are gifts, gifts from God, created by him for us to dwell in as his people as his children. To dwell in so that we might live in community with him, each other and our world.
And so today, we say thank you to God for his wonderful gift of Canada.
This concept of our being caregivers of God’s world is not something new. We are told this in the beginning of Scripture.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
These verses when taken in their proper context do not give us the right to do anything we want with God’s glorious creation. Rather, these verses reveal to us that God has made us the overseers of his creation, not the owner of it. We do not have the right to do what we please with this world or with this great country of Canada. We are to care for, and nurture what we have been given. And this includes our care and nurture of each other, for we are part of creation even though we are given a special place within it.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Canada will remain a great place to live only if we remember that we are stewards, custodians, caretakers of God’s world. We need to live as scripture shows us - in harmony. In harmony with God, in harmony with each each other and in harmony with the rest of creation. Canada needs to be the light to the world of our God given relationship with creation.
And it is up to us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus to be God’s reminder to people in our town, our province, and our country that our country is a gift from God which will only be preserved if we live in harmony first with God, then with each other so that we can live in harmony with the rest of creation. There really is an ecological crisis occurring. We can no longer deny it. And as Christians we need to be at the forefront in showing the people what can be done.
What could we do in our homes and in the use of our vehicles, in everything we do to reduce our carbon footprint? What could we do to reduce, recycle and reuse? How do we make this part of our thinking so that we do it on our farms, in our work places and right here in our church building? How can we encourage our politicians to take seriously that Canada is a gift to be cared for and not ravished? What can we do to make where we live a place of true community of care and nurture for people and not just a bedroom community?
You and I are God’s ambassadors in this world. How will we demonstrate God’s desire for harmony in his creation. How will we be politically active in moving God’s agenda ahead?
For us as Christians, Canada is more than just our home and native land. It is a country in which we are to be God’s ambassadors; demonstrating his love, and his care for all of his creation. We are to demonstrate how to live in harmony with him, each other and all of creation. Canada is not ours to do with as we want! It is a gift that God has entrusted to us! As his children let us be his example. As his disciples let us teach his truth. As ambassadors let us invite people to become part of his kingdom here on earth so that they might live in harmony with him, each other and creation as he has intended from the beginning of time.
Thank you Jesus for Canada.
Thank you that we have the privilege of living here.
Thank you for calling us to be your witnesses in this country. You witnesses not only of your love but also of your trust in the care of this beautiful gift we call Canada.
Lord Jesus as we turn to you and learn to love you - Bless us, bless this land we call home - Canada.