‘Tis July 1, which means today is Canada Day — or, as it was called when I was growing up, “Dominion Day” or “Confederation Day”: the anniversary of the birth of this country.
Some call this “Canada’s 151st birthday” and there are many who quibble about the fact that not all ten provinces joined Confederation at once — BC was in 1871, Manitoba in 1870, Saskatchewan in 1905, Newfoundland and Labrador didn’t join until 1949 (the bad joke is that that’s why it’s always half an hour later in Newfoundland) — and others raise the spectre of dark pages from the country’s past, like the treatment of First Nations, saying there’s no reason to celebrate the creation of Canada.
To the former group, I say “you need to get out more often”.
To the latter group, I say this is a country that has taken massive strides to right those wrongs and move forward. Remember that God’s thoughts towards everyone, regardless of race or heritage, are thoughts of peace and not of evil (Jeremiah 29:11). We have to be careful not to let our thoughts get in the way of that.
Something that I think is important to note is that our country has embedded God into its official symbols. It’s in our national anthem: the English version says “God keep our land glorious and free”, and the original French refers to our country’s ability to carry the Cross as well as the sword. The preamble to the Canadian Constitution refers to the supremacy of God. The original name of Canada was “Dominion of Canada” — a reference to Psalm 72, in which verse 8 says, “He shall have dominion from sea to sea”. We don’t talk about “dominion” much anymore, but the Coat of Arms, above, bears the motto, “A mari usque ad mare” — “from sea even unto sea”.
And look at that Coat of Arms: what’s over everything? The Crown, yes, but what’s on top of the Crown, above all else? The Cross.
Our country is one of the most peaceable in the world — in fact, I can’t think of one more blessed with peace, freedom and prosperity. I believe that because God is still mentioned “officially”, this country hasn’t lost a war, has not suffered a major terrorist attack, and still produces enough food for all; it’s because God is still part of our official trappings that we have this innate leaning towards making peace in the world and welcoming strangers — because we and/or our ancestors were also strangers in a strange land at one time.
We have to be careful not to get smug and use this blessing in ways that go against the Word of God — and that’s a very real danger; let’s remember that every time we sing, “God keep our land glorious and free”, He hears us … and He does.