Friday, July 1, 2011

Thankful For This Country

Today is Canada's birthday and tens of millions of Canadians will be celebrating this wonderful country. Seriously, it is a great country to be born and raised in. It has plenty of faults but in comparison to other places I could have been born I am a very fortunate man. I love the people, the general attitude toward life, the diversity of the regions, the vastness, the sheer beauty, the diversity of weather, and the various cultures. I am thankful that my parents were born Canadian and stayed here so I too could be born Canadian but I also note that I did not have a choice in the matter. In fact, no one has a choice where they are born and what nationality they are.

We do not have many choices when it comes to our birth; none at all. We do not get to decide who our parents are, what language we will speak, what colour our skin will be, or what religion we are raised in. We do not have the choice of being born male or female, tall or short, blue eyed or brown, blonde or brunette. We do not get to decide to be born to poverty or to privilege, whether we are born a prince or a beggar. These are all choices that are out of our reach during our birth but this lack of choice then does not nullify our capacity to make choices now. In fact, what we will be judged on will be the choices that we have made since our birth; in particular one choice:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." (John 3:16-18)

You see, that's a choice we make, to believe or not to believe. It is also a choice, if we do believe, whether we live our lives dedicated to Jesus or not. It is a choice whether I live in obedience to him or in rebellion, because if I choose not to obey then it is rebellion.

When we come right down to it, even though I did not have a choice about my citizenship at birth, I have a choice now. Even though I love my birth country and celebrate it's founding today, my true citizenship and loyalty belong to the Kingdom of God. That is a choice I have made and stand by. I love this Kingdom, the grace and mercy it was founded open. I love its heart of love from which all things flow. I love the real beauty of this place; the beauty of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. I love this family I belong to and even though not everyone understands it, those of us who do are strong enough to be patient with those who do not. It is a wonderful place of love and forgiveness. This is where I belong and what I celebrate every day.

I was not born to this Kingdom by accident or by any parents' choice but instead by the Father's will and by my choice to accept his will. The apostle John put it this way:

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)

This is the same opportunity, the same choice that is available to all of us, even today. I hope you have made that choice and stand with me in the knowledge of what a privileged people we are to belong to this family, to belong to Jesus Christ, to belong to the Father. What an awesome day it is going to be today in the Kingdom of God, as a child of God. Let us rejoice all day long in the one who made it all possible! Thank you Jesus.

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