BLOG: Canadian Christians and Remembrance Day
This week I flew to and from Abbotsford B.C. to attend the Anglican Network in Canada’s Synod. As I was going through airport security, I saw a special bin for people to dispose of their marijuana and/or cannabis products. For years now, airport security has taken unacceptable items like pocket knives or bottles of water – now they offer to take your cannabis products if you are flying out of the country. By the way, the fellow ahead of me in the line commented to the security about the bin, with its large and prominent label. The security agent said some of the staff wanted to add a label, which said –“Contributions to the staff Christmas Party.”
This small incident reminds us of how Canada is increasingly passing laws and policies which are opposed to what Christians believe are good and true, not only for themselves, but for all people. It also reminds us of the growing, low level, but persistent and real discrimination against Christians in Canada.
This Sunday is Remembrance Day. On this day at official ceremonies, prayer in the Name of Jesus will be quietly banned. At the same time, our state and our culture will urge us to pause and remember: those in our armed forces that gave life and limb in Canada’s wars; those who currently serve in Canadian armed forces; the loved ones who are left behind; and of course, we remember our country, with its state and culture, as a good thing worth preserving and fighting for.
What should Christians do? Celebrate our state and country unreservedly? Withdraw and ignore this day? Protest and denounce this day?
The story of Jonah is helpful here. In chapter 1, when Jonah is in the boat and the boat is in the storm, the pagan’s and the Jewish man, Jonah, are in the same boat, in the same storm. The pagan’s ask everyone on the boat to pray [and work] so they will survive the storm. If the boat sinks, all perish.
We are Christians in Canada. If our economy fails, we along with all Canadians will suffer. If hostile powers hold us hostage, we along with all Canadians will suffer. If our country prospers and flourishes, we will, by and large, share in the flourishing. So we should seek to serve in the government, in the civil service, in the armed forces, in education, in private enterprise, in arts and culture, in the courts and as police, and in caring for the poor. We are to seek the true good of Canada.
But we will disagree at times, maybe today many times, with the state and our culture. We need to be shaped by the Gospel and the whole counsel of God. This will lead us to be thankful for Canada, not on Canadian terms, but on biblical terms. We will work and pray for the good of Canada, but from a biblical understanding, not from the perspective of Canada. Many times our understanding will overlap – the Canadian and the Christian understanding. But there will always be a difference – things Canadians will seek which are wrong and unwise and we cannot affirm – and things Canadians will think are wrong and unwise about the Christian understanding which we will respectfully continue to affirm as good and wise. So Christians enter into Remembrance Day with thanks and praise – praying to the Lord for our nation.
Principal of Ryle Seminary