Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Rejoice Ye Pure In Heart"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 33:12a – Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. (NIV)
- O Canada! our home and native land,
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The true north, strong and free,
From far and wide O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
– Robert Stanley Weir
At any time of patriotic celebration, along with "O Canada" and "God Save the Queen", we can enjoy great national songs like "The Maple Leaf Forever" by Alexander Muir, "Something to Sing About" by Oscar Brand, "Land of the Silver Birch" based on a poem by Pauline Johnson, and "My Paddle's Keen and Bright" by Margaret Embers McGee. As well, we can borrow "My Country 'Tis of Thee" with its tune from Britain and lyrics from the USA. These songs touch our emotions in a unique way and give us opportunity to recall and enrich our love, thankfulness, and petitions for our precious homeland.
We want to enjoy major celebrations of thanksgiving and intercession for our beloved country during its 150th birthday celebrations. As July-the-first is on the calendar every year, it gives us opportunity to celebrate the national joy, love, and responsibility that we share every day to enrich and challenge ourselves and others.
Responsible patriotic enthusiasm can inspire generation after generation in a desire to keep our country glorious and free. Our Bible gives us wisdom regarding our hopes and fears for the future of our country and its people of all ages:
At Proverbs 11:14, we read, "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure." (NIV)
Paul writes to the younger Timothy, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men." (1 Timothy 2:1-6a NIV)
James wrote, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27 NIV)
In the letter to the Hebrews we are instructed, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)
As we give thanks and pray for Canada, let us also repent of and eschew the injustices of the past while we go forward, with the guidance of Almighty God, bravely into the future.
Prayer: Lord God, we pray for forgiveness of our personal, corporate, and national sins against individuals and groups of Your people whom we have not always treated as You would have had us do. We claim Your forgiveness in the sacrifice of our Lord, as Your Word promises, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18 NIV). Teach us more and more to treat all people of our country and the whole world as beloved brothers and sisters.
- Almighty Love, by Thy mysterious power,
In wisdom guide, with faith and freedom dower;
Be ours a nation evermore
That no oppression blights,
Where justice rules from shore to shore,
From lakes to northern lights.
May love alone for wrong atone;
Lord of the lands, make Canada Thine own!
– Albert D. Watson