Saturday, July 6, 2013

O Canada! From West Down East and Back, The True North

Whatever projects we get up to, I'm sure our Heavenly Father has some great laughs, sometimes in derision, sometimes delight.

Whatever mischief we create or encounter, don't you think many tears from mingled sorrow and joy come easily from His eyes?

Consider Canada,
 Canada consider Jesus.

Comment ça va avec lui? avec nous?

What keeps us together?
The Trans-Canada highway? Maybe.
The Federal government? Eh, say what?

But remember!
Our governors separated us into Upper and Lower Canada.

Then one day a true first-rate fellow took an act of political hubris to curb our inferiority and brought our constitution home from across the pond.

Now we can follow our dreams, if only we can agree on what they are.

But there's a war afoot. Both within the church and outside its influence, there's a battle raging for our mental, physical and spiritual health!

For the follower of Jesus, prayer and praise itself is an exercise in warfare. We fight against the spiritual forces at work in our own lives, the influences of the world the flesh and the devil. We battle on behalf of others including both friends and enemies.

One can follow all the Christian traditions without actually following Christ. We can misuse our faith if we allow ourselves to become insulated from our responsibility to stand against the world, the flesh and the devil. We may be virtually acting against the promises we make at every baptism to do all in our power to support new believers in their life in Christ.

Currently, many Christians inherit or intentionally choose the old pathways, expecting to receive all the valid traditions at face value. However, the true call and mark of the church is faithfulness to the gospel of Christ. This is nothing but the worship of God and the preaching of the message of the cross: the proclamation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The call to focus on Christ and His Mission is essential. The urgency of our common calling is relevant to those who are lost and who need to know that The Living God will one day come again to judge this world.

As lay people, we cannot be afraid to do whatever it is the Lord is calling us to say and do, especially in those situations where either secular society or the institutional church attempts to stifle us. We are responsible under God to minister to clergy and even bishops when necessary. This requires humility on all sides, especially on the part of the senior partners in these relationships.

Spiritual warfare is not complicated. It can be as simple as maintaining a cheerful heart, serving quietly and participating in regular worship of God. It might mean, for some, extended times of prayer, for some, the singing of loud Alleluias. It might involve us in responsible social and political action, conducted in obedience to Jesus, according to our talents and interests.

If those in need around us are starving, it’s unacceptable to sit on the rich food supply. We think we must wait for the food inspector to give a certificate of approval before we can unseal the crate and give out its contents. This is what we often feel compelled to do because we have an unhealthy and unbiblical deference to so-called authority.

Perfect love is said to cast out fear. Scripture clearly calls all Christians to love and serve their fellows and through them their community. If we are being forced into independence, perhaps this is the Lord’s way of helping us grow up.

Help us, Lord Jesus, to love one another, to seek health for ourselves and our neighbours.

We who put our trust in God are called on occasion to arise in faith to stand up with the gospel, to set an example for our fellow believers to take risks in faith. This past few weeks I've been refreshed and strengthened to share the gospel on the streets and even to sing God's praises.

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered!
Jesus still says, “Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give refreshment,” and “Father, may they be one!”

Let our churches return to the job of proclaiming the power of God to heal mental, spiritual and physical disease, and restore the partnership between medical and spiritual professionals.

The men in our bible study have been praying for each other. One day, a few months ago I asked for prayer that I would be able to go down to Nova Scotia to visit family but especially for my twin nephew's graduation from High School. I didn't see how it could happen due to both poor health and finances.

But the Lord prepared the Way. My boss gave me the time I needed. I was able to cash in some air miles and my wife was satisfied that there was enough food in the house for  her while I was away.

I flew out of Pearson 3 PM on a Wednesday and returned just after 8 PM the following Friday. Three full days of showers of blessing and peace. The rain lifted and the sun came out as my nephews left the ceremony.

It was invigorating, seeing my sister and her clan, spending time with Mum and visiting my brother and his new family.

As I return to the big city I've sensed like never before the freedom to preach and sing again the song I learned in Quebec in my youth, on the streets and byways of Toronto, especially last Sunday and again Monday, Canada Day.

O Canada! Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la Croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée des plus brillant exploits'

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Some of the words have been changed since my days in Quebec, I say for the better.

...and yet...Quebec feels left out.
But then, So do the Atlantic Provinces the Prairies and B.C.
We’ve no Grand Canyon, just a few noisy fire-crackers, dissidents who avoid responsibilities while promoting rights!
What about the privilege of duty?
What of Ontario?
The Place to Stand, Out in the cold with the North?

So what can keep us together?
Simple convenience and compromise has so far,
but a little more is required:
Charity, friendship, common sense,
hope, the Word of life,
hot apple cider and sticky maple syrup
Et Mon Dieu!

Let’s take up our cross, using the sword of the Spirit to make our future full of exploits for Jesus! Whatever your national origin, let’s stand together for His righteousness and truth.
All for Jesus! Gloire a Dieu!

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