As an immigrant from the Islamic Republic of Iran, I am extremely glad and honored to live in Canada, a glorious and free land. My homeland is a nation that is known to lack in freedom of speech and has undergone many turmoils, like the 1979 revolution and an almost 8 year-long war with Iraq. I recognize that Canada’s history is not free from violence, prejudice, pain and injustice. However, I do believe that God is on the move, revealing truth and bringing healing in many different areas of our country, including the social and political landscape. As His people, it is our responsibility to keep seeking God and refusing to copy the behavior and customs of this world. God transforms His people into new persons by changing the way we think, which will then enable us to test and approve God’s will for us, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2).
For Christian Canadians we must recognize that when we sing “O Canada”, we are praying to God to keep our country glorious and free. Freedom from enemy invasion, freedom from oppression, freedom from injustice, freedom from systemic inequality, freedom from idolatry and freedom from all kinds of sin. Our Creator, “…wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people…” (1 Timothy. 2:4-6a). True freedom comes by accepting the truth found in Christ, and it is the Church’s Great Commission to make Him known among the nations. Even so, we must also realize that our witness is directly connected to our holiness. We are not just called to verbally proclaim the Gospel, but also to let our identity and actions speak loudly of God’s love and transforming power.
True freedom comes by accepting the truth found in Christ, and it is the Church’s Great Commission to make Him known among the nations.
God has said, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
I believe, as Christians who are living in Canada, we must live in humility, continually seeking God’s face in prayer, admitting our sins, turning away from evil and loosening the chains of injustice. The Church is called to follow the footsteps of their Savior in proclaiming good news to the poor, release for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed (Luke 4:18). This is what will bring continual healing, restoration and social development to our land. God is a God of justice and reconciliation. God demands that His Church carry His message of forgiveness and redemption to all people from all nations with great love and honor.
The Apostle Paul writes that, “God brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world(including Canada) to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. We are Christ’s ambassadors (in Canada and abroad); God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
We are to, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...” not with force, violence and disrespect (1 Peter 3:15).
Without love our spiritual gifts and all our efforts in trying to bring the message of salvation and reconciliation to our neighbours will be little more than a gong show (1 Corinthians 13).
May each Canada Day remind us that it is God who keeps our land glorious and free, but God’s people also have a role to play in upholding freedom and justice. Let us walk in humility, repentance and seek God’s face in prayer regardless of the moral and political changes in our country. Let us proclaim to all nations within our nation through our being, doing and telling that Christ is supreme over our nation, and His saving work on the cross is readily available for all who choose to repent and believe in the Son of God.
My prayer is that Coastal Church would continue to be courageous by remaining rooted in the truth of Christ, loving God and our neighbour through every good deed for the purpose of glorifying our Father in heaven.