Last week I lead a prayer walk at the Parliament grounds here in Edmonton. It was a beautiful summer day, and there were huge crowds of people playing in Peter's Park in front of the legislature buildings. In the midst of that crowd, I walked silent and meditative, along with about ten others from the Gathering, praying for our nation.
I took a Lectio Divinae approach, meditating upon the line from our national anthem, "God keep our land glorious and free."
I first pondered the place of God in Canada. Which God? Our multicultural diversity would say Joseph Campbell's God, an unknowable transcendent being who hides behind the masks of myriad religions and rituals. This is a warm and fuzzy concept, but at the end of the day is untenable. I like a quote I read recently which said "not all religions are true...all religions have some". Or something like that. Nevertheless, even if all religions have some truth, there has to be an ultimate reality in order for there to be a reference point to judge truth (or falsehood) by. I believe, as C.S. Lewis did, that all truth is God's truth. And when I say God, I mean Jesus. Not to the exclusion of other faiths, but as the truest revelation of the God behind the mask. I believe that Jesus is as close as we can get to understanding the full nature of God. So when I think of who is keeping Canada glorious and free, it is Jesus who I am thinking of.
In my meditation, I moved from God to "our land". It's a very possessive phrase, and it ought to be. Contrary to years of colonial Christianity, our job as humans is not to beat the earth into submission, but to take care of it. Adam was given the job of taking care of the garden in Eden, and while the creation may be fallen, it remains ours to tend. I pondered how the hell the issue of the environment got nearly no interest in the last federal election from Evangelical Christians, given that Revelation 11 says that the Day of the Lord will be a time to It is time to "destroy everyone who has destroyed the earth." So when I pray to ask God keep our land glorious, I have to remember to do my part as well.
As for the land being kept free--I had nothing cynical to riff on. I tried to ponder the issue of freedom, and ask, "am I really free?" Then I thought better of it. I am free, dammit. I live in a free country. I'm free to walk around my parliament buildings, praying for my government in public. The people around me were free to frolic in various modes of dress (or undress...it was really stinking hot). Some East Indian ladies were free to smoke a hookah off to the side of the fountains. I am free, and I'm thankful for it. Thankful to God, that I was born in this free country. I don't deserve that grace, but I'm glad I've got it all the same.
I thought a lot of other things, but those were the bare bones of it. The red and white as opposed to the black and white I guess.
Happy Canada Day everyone. Enjoy the fireworks, and party responsibly!