By Merv Budd
The Church in Canada has had a varied relationship with its host country. The stories of martyrs like Jean de Brébeuf, who was martyred in the 1600s, was part of costly witness the Church bore. The Parliament building has many Biblical verses etched into its walls and arches, and our national anthem is a prayer to God. The often unknown fourth verse says as much:
Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion, in thy loving care.
And yet, these are remnants of another time. Abuse, scandals, and an attitude of entitlement has eroded the favour and, dare I say, tolerance that Christians once held. The Church has become once more an exiled people. But perhaps we were always meant to have understood Canada as a foreign land. Perhaps the Church had grown too comfortable, too familiar and had neglected the mission she was meant to be on.
Of course we as the Canadian Church are not the only ones who have found ourselves relegated from the centre to the margins of society. Western Europe has led the way into post-Christendom, and America is not far behind us. But while their stories of exile are similar, and are appreciated, they are not ours.
The Missional Canuck is the blog of the Forge Missional Training Network in Canada: theologians and practitioners who are seeking to express the unique Canadian voice within the missional conversation.
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Let us together reconsider how we can express love for God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, as well as loving our neighbours who are far from God and showing love for one another within the Kingdom of God—not only as citizens of the Kingdom, but as fellow exiles who reside in Canada.