Just a few short days ago Canada celebrated its national birthday. Some of us who have been around a long time can remember when it was celebrated as Dominion Day: now it is Canada Day. We have a lot to celebrate. Our presence on the world stage is being requested, and our opinions seem to be valued by the international community. The nations are noticing Canada.
We have the will, desire and intelligence to tackle the most difficult of problems. It appears that we are not afraid to get up to bat, to face the awesome task of addressing human frailty and social dysfunction. I love that about Canadians. Most Canadians believe the best about their Prime Minister’s heart motivations. They are an incredibly patient breed and magnanimous. Even their criticisms are shared with a desire to be a part of the solution
I don’t ever want to see the essential good nature of Canadians change. However, just as individuals function their best when operating according to an inner sense of call and mission, an essential life purpose, so nations must never lose their sense of intention, or appointment with destiny.
The Bible makes the statement that it is God who guides the destinies of the generations of the nations. Just as individuals have a “manifest destiny,” so does the nation of Canada.
The political party – or the individual – that best captures the national mission that is at the core of the nation’s identity will have the opportunity to impact Canada’s future and call out its best.
One such man who did that in our Canadian history was Lester Bowles Pearson. He received the 1957 Noble Peace Prize for propagating the idea of the present UN Peace Keeping force. The former PM was born in Toronto, Ontario (1897-1972), son and grandson to Methodist preachers. It was during the Suez Crisis of 1956, when he was Secretary of State for External Affairs that he proposed the commissioning of a multinational UN peacekeeping force.
Listen to what he said: “Threats to global survival, though they are sometimes exaggerated in apocalyptic language which makes our flesh creep, are real. The prophets of doom and gloom may be proven wrong but it is a chilling fact that man can now destroy his world by nuclear explosion or ecological erosion….The stark and inescapable fact is that today we cannot defend our society by war since total war is total destruction, and if war is used as an instrument of policy, eventually we will have total war. Therefore, the best defense of peace is not power, but the removal of the causes of war, and international agreements which will put peace on a stronger foundation than the terror of destruction.”
Did his faith influence his passion and pursuit of world peace as a purpose in life? No question. He could have been speaking to the nations of our generation where peace is in very short supply, and is being threatened by small pieces of luggage unattended in a parking lot or inside terminals.
Pearson connected with one of the national DNA strands that I believe God put there when the nation was born. Canadians have responded to more than 40 peace keeping missions, and many have paid the ultimate price. For Canada to remain Canada, there is an ever-increasing need for Canada to step it up regarding its passion and mission to peace make and peace keep.
The honorable Stockwell Day once stated at a Mayoral Leadership Breakfast in Kelowna that he had “faith in Canada because of faith in Canada.” I agree! As a Christian, in a faith relationship to Jesus, I have been given a commission to be a reconciler of men to God and to each other.
The Church in Canada has a pivotal role to play in making and keeping the peace within its borders and beyond. God uses the Church to persuade men and women to drop their differences, and enter into God’s work of making things right between them.
May God grant us peace on our soil because of the potency of our relationship to the Prince of Peace, and may He cause us to become peace makers and peace keepers beyond our borders. This is Canada’s heritage!