Monday, July 01, 2013

Canada Day and Freedom

July 1 is Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) – “celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed.”    (Source Wikipedia)


Celebrations such as Canada Day and  in the USA  Independence Day (July 4)  have a theme of  patriotism for  the  citizens.


For Christians,  patriotism  (devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty.)   can raise some questions. In fact there is a lot of debate over the degree of national patriotism and involvement in that are appropriate for Christians.


Since I tend to be apolitical by “nature” I could easily justify this by referring  to scriptures such as 

1 Peter 2:10-12
Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation..


However, that would be dishonest.  The firm conviction I have is that my citizenship in God’s kingdom is of first priority. I’m also mindful of Jesus’ words when he said

Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money..

This is a reference to letting money (materialism) dominate our lives; however the principle seems the same we can`t serve (be loyal to) two “kings” at the same time.

So my belief is that if Christians involve themselves in national patriotism it must be driven by their loyalty to Jesus. The rationale must be that doing that is the best way to follow  Jesus rather than some idea that political activity can create a “Christian” nation that forces Christians values onto the citizens of that country.  Christians are called to be salt and leaven that lead others to the kingdom of God – not  policemen and judges.

Anyone interested in investigating this subject in more detail is invited to look at TimArcher’s blog (Kitchen of Half Baked thoughts) under the topic Christian Nation  


Another theme that comes to mind when celebrating days like Canada Day is freedom.  Again there is a lot of debate both in nations and in theology about the meaning of freedom.  One thing that is clear t never means freedom to do “whatever I want to do,  whenever I want to do it  and wherever I want to do it” – that’s chaos – not freedom although there are certainly some who want to define freedom this way.

The Bible speaks many times of the freedom we have in Christ.  A few examples are

 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Something to ponder is “what are Christians free to do,   when are they free to do it and where are they free to do it?”.  We need to seek  our own answers to this from  scripture  (and from critical   comparison of what others have concluded from  their reading of the Bible) – not simply accept (be enslaved by)  religious rules and  regulations that are passed on to us or taught to us by others.

Something to think about as we   celebrate our national holidays in whatever country we live in as “aliens and exiles”.
God Bless