Hockey, great beer, and an abundance of politeness are the stereotype markers of Canadians. We enjoy that people from all over the world identify us with these traits.
Our nation is vast and open, and the people are as diverse as the landscape. Maritimers live, think, and even speak differently than prairie dwellers. Francophones have seemingly little in common with those in the remote northern territories. The citizens of Toronto are distinct from those in Vancouver.
This doesn’t even account for the immigrants, Aboriginals, and other micro-communities that our mosaic nation holds. How can 38.8 million people spread across nearly 10 million square kilometers find unity in such diversity? Surely, it’s deeper than our love for hockey, beer, and manners.
Desiring a Better Country
The Canada Coat of Arms was adopted by the proclamation of his majesty, King George V, in 1921. The Arms display two Latin phrases: The Order of Canada: “Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam” (they desire a better country), and the motto: “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (from sea to sea), taken from Hebrews 11:16 and Psalm 72:8, respectively. Whether our nation was established by Christians or this was just the cultural norm of the day, it’s difficult to say.
Yet certainly today, there is a dramatic culture shift as Canadians move from identifying as Christian to post-Christian. Where Christian morals were once the foundation of our society, people now look beyond these values to find peace and reconciliation. It feels like we’re losing ground—trying to merely address the external—because we’re incapable of changing the internal. As a church-planting network, we recognize the importance of obedience in relocating to the places the Lord calls us. Yet we often overlook obedience in our own backyard. Click To Tweet
This is discouraging. Some dream of going to a new land with new people. As a church-planting network, we recognize the importance of obedience in relocating to the places the Lord calls us. Yet we often overlook obedience in our own backyard.
In my city, homelessness, opioid addictions, and theft continue to rise. Things get messy, and it’s easier for us to flee or complain. But the more we see our neighbors kick against the truth, lash out in rage, express themselves in graffiti, and look for peace in a bottle or a needle, the more we’re reminded just how precious the gospel is and how desperately people need it.
Sharing a Better Message
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Rom. 10:14). Praise God, in his providence, he has placed his people, his ambassadors, in their midst, with the words of life promising much more than superficial unity in things like beer, hockey, good manners, or whatever your area is known for.
So allow me to encourage you, even as you daydream about finding a new and beautiful place to live, one without sin and misery all around (that place does await all who are in Christ, someday): form intentional habits to share the gospel where God has you now. God has placed you for a purpose. The more we see our neighbors kick against the truth, lash out in rage, express themselves in graffiti, and look for peace in a bottle or a needle, the more we’re reminded just how precious the gospel is and how desperately people need it. Click To Tweet
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Allow the people around you to get to know you.
- Introduce yourself to other folks in the park, the coffee shop, the gym, or wherever you hang out—and keep hanging out there.
- Get to know them by name, ask how they are, and listen to them.
- Show them the love of Christ through your words and deeds.
- Be ready to share with them the hope you have.
- Watch for needs that you can meet.
- Pray for them and with them.
The words of life do not return void as you plant and water gospel seeds every opportunity you can. Christ’s gospel of hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation is made for sharing. Don’t overlook the people he has placed right in front of you. As they grapple with unifying around a national, geographical, recreational, or political identity, we have the one identity that truly unifies: unity with Christ. Christ’s gospel of hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation is made for sharing. Click To Tweet
This is the greatest news they could hear. It’s the news that changes people at the deepest level and brings them into true community with brothers and sisters: sinners saved by grace, who are all making their way to our true home together with the Lord. In the meantime, keep sharing with everyone you can.