Our family always gathers at my son’s home on Canada Day to celebrate the birthday of Vanessa (our oldest granddaughter). When Vanessa was little, I’m sure it seemed to her as if all those fireworks were just for her birthday.
As Canadians, we have lots to celebrate. The travelling I’ve done in my life time has only reinforced my love for our beautiful, peaceful, safe, caring nation. One of our Canadian characteristics is our ability to criticize ourselves, especially our politicians. Finding fault seems to be a national past time. Being human, our M.P. and prime minister have faults, one of which often is (for many of us) that this leader represents the wrong political party – whichever one that is.
The Bible gives us the story of the nation of Israel as it develops politically. First, it is ruled by priests, then Judges, and finally Kings. If we think our political system is adversarial with four main parties and several lesser ones, Israel in David’s time had twelve tribes, each with its own strong leader. The story tells us that when David was anointed King, the twelve tribes let go of their differences and focused on the security and unity that they hoped would come with David’s rule.
On this Canada Day, I intend to pray for our political leaders. I may not agree with the decisions that they make, or the party they support. The bottom line is that in the last election, for whatever reasons, these men and women were selected as our leaders. For their term of office, they are the custodians of our peace and unity. As such, they need our prayer support. Compassion, caring, honesty, justice, and wisdom are all gifts of God’s Spirit. I want our leaders to be open to God’s Spirit.
This Canada Day and every day, let us not forget to hold in prayer the leadership of our country. Remember, there is power in prayer.
“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
In our modern world it has become difficult to celebrate “Father’s Day”. After all, families come in many shapes and sizes. Some have children living with Mom and Dad living in another place. Some have two mom’s and no dad’s at all. To complicate matters even more, some dads are wonderful, and some are not. We know that for some in our world, Father’s day feels like just another hollow commercial holiday. So, why bother with it at all?
God has blessed me with two sons and a son-in-law, all three of which belong in the wonderful father category. Oh, they’re not perfect, even if they are mine, but they are amazing. All of them care for their children from changing diapers, through cleaning house, to coaching sports teams. Like many modern families, these modern Dads believe in teamwork.
These Dads have learned the joy and of course the challenges, of being involved in their children’s lives. And my grandchildren have reaped the benefits. They are growing up with loving men who give them support, affirmation and care.
There are many families with “wonderful Dads” doing their best to parent their children whether or not they’re part of a traditional family. These Dad’s need their day of celebration each year because we need to be reminded of the value of their efforts. We need to openly appreciate what they do.
I’m glad we celebrate Father’s Day. Children need a “father figure” in their lives. Whether the role is filled by a neighbour, a family friend, or Dad himself, Father is vital in a child’s life.
“Honour your Father and your Mother.” (Exodus 20: 12)
Between the ages of two and eight, my middle son David, limited his diet to peanut butter and jam sandwiches plus an apple now and then. Trying to convince David to try anything else meant inciting total war between David and his dad. And when we accepted a dinner invitation, our childless friends were insulted when young David turned up his nose at their delicious roast beef dinner. Totally frustrated, I asked my doctor for methods of varying David’s diet. The doctor replied, “if he eats peanut butter, bread, apples and drinks milk, he’ll be fine. If you’re worried give him a daily vitamin and let it rest.” Grateful, for the peace this philosophy brought to our home, we accepted David’s diet choices. Today, as a vegetarian his diet is still different from mine.
I think sometimes many of us think our way of practicing our faith, is the only way that a person can live a spiritually healthy life. I believe Jesus offers us much the same message as our doctor. If you believe in God, and live with love and respect for your neighbour and yourself, you are receiving the staples, the bread and peanut butter of faith. Sure, there is lots of variety out there. Whether you kneel, stand, sit, or lie down to pray is not important. Just remember to pray. Whether you gather together with others or worship on your own in the great outdoors, the important thing is to offer God your gratitude and praise for the abundance you enjoy. Worshipping alone may mean you miss out on the support, the learning and the fellowship of church membership but you’ll get by, and you can always take the odd vitamin shot of communal faith at Christmas and Easter.
Rather than trying to argue people into your way of believing, try looking for the staples, the bread and peanut butter of faith that a person does have and give thanks for those blessings.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 36-40