Looking ahead to Canada Day


Scripture: Psalm 72: 1-8: Nigel Bunce

The beautiful Psalm 72 captures the ideals of governing. Righteousness, justice, peace. Care for the poor. This sounds very much like the ideals of those who founded this nation of Canada. Peace, order, and good government.  Indeed, Psalm 72: 8 inspired our national motto “A mari usque ad mare”. Which translates, “From sea to sea”.  Image: globalnews.ca

Triumphs and failures

Celebrations last Canada Day were muted, because of the tragic discoveries of First Nations children, who were buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of former Residential Schools. We must keep reflecting on the past, the bad as well as the good. Or should I say, the good as well as the bad. Because they coexist.

And because every nation, like every person, has both failures and triumphs, faults and virtues. Occasions for celebration and occasions for shame. Our national founders clearly used Christian principles to found Canada, but went horribly astray in their dealings with our Indigenous peoples.

And that’s human nature. A mixture of the very best and the very worst. In the past week or so, I have read that at least 70% of Canadians believe that climate change is real and urgent. Yet Canadians lead the world in the proportion of new vehicles that are SUVs and light trucks. The ‘supersizing’ of passenger vehicles has completely negated the improvements in efficiency of engine technology.

Elsewhere, Germany plans to restart coal-fired power stations, rather than cutting off Russian-supplied energy or continuing to use nuclear power

But yet. Last week, the Globe & Mail carried an article by Tanya Talaga which included the seven Indigenous sacred teachings. I quote:

The Seven Sacred Teachings

“Love: to know love, is to know peace.
Respect: to honour all of creation is to have respect.
Bravery: to face life with courage is to know bravery.
Honesty: to walk through this life with integrity is to know honesty.
Humility: to accept yourself as a sacred part of creation is to know humility.
Wisdom: to cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
Truth: to know of these seven things is to know the truth.”

Talaga continued. “I believe that all of us, Anishinaabe or not, can learn from the seven sacred teachings. We should all take them to heart, and use them every day as a compass to guide our words and actions.”

I agree. And I notice that these seven teachings are equally guideposts to Christian behaviour.

Recognition of Indigenous Peoples this Canada Day

And so I end these comments by asking you to recite with me this Affirmation composed last year by the United Church of Canada.

Creating God, as we mark the anniversary of the Confederation of Canada this week, we remember and give thanks for the people who have been the stewards of this land since time immemorial.

We commit ourselves to the work of justice, healing, and reconciliation. Together we dream about the country that we hope to become, a country where all are free to be their best selves. Amen.