Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

My patriotic planter
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 72:1-20

TO CHEW ON: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.” Psalm 72:8

Today is Canada’s 150th birthday! That’s the reason I diverge from the suggested Canadian Bible Society reading to suggest, instead, Psalm 72. For Psalm 72 played a big part in Canada’s history.

“When the fathers of confederation were assembled discussing the terms and conditions of Confederation and the drafting of the British North America Act there had been considerable discussion the day before and many suggestions as to what the new United Canada should be called, and no conclusion had been reached. The discussion on the name stood over until the next day. The next morning, as was Sir Leonard (Tilley)’s custom, he read a chapter from the Bible and that particular morning he read Psalm 72. When reading verse eight of the said Psalm, 'He shall have Dominion also from sea to sea'—the thought occurred to him, what a splendid name to give Canada. When he went back to the sitting of the convention that morning he suggested the word 'Dominion,' which was agreed to, and Canada was called the 'Dominion of Canada'” - Michael Clarke, in Canada, Portraits of Faith, p. 61.

Let’s take a moment to look at Leonard Tilley (1818-1896).

This pharmacist entered public life in support of the temperance movement (after seeing a young mother murdered by her drunken husband). He eventually served as Premier of New Brunswick, navigating the province into the new union that became Canada. He also helped write the British North America Act.

He came to faith at 21, was active in the Church of England, and stood firm in his convictions on temperance, proposing and passing a bill against alcohol in New Brunswick which resulted in insults and attack: “… burned in effigy, his house attacked, his life threatened, he never flinched” - Michael Clarke, source as above.

Later he became a federal Minister of Customs in John A. MacDonald’s government. When that government fell under charges of corruption, Tilley was not one of the guilty.

I find many points of inspiration for us 21st century Canadians in Tilley’s story.

  • His social concerns increased his influence as he supported his convictions about temperance with action.
  • He wasn’t swayed from his principled stand by insults, threats, intimidation, and attack.
  • When in federal politics he didn’t join in the corruption.
  • His faith remained simple and practical. It included reading the Bible every day and paying attention to what it said to the extent of applying its words and ideas to everyday challenges.

It’s easy to think that life in Canada 150 years ago was a piece of cake for people of faith. Mr. Tilley’s story helps us see that wasn’t the case. Let’s continue supporting our beloved Dominion of Canada with Bible-based faith, prayer, and action.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for Canada! I pray for my homeland today, that You would bless her with righteousness, justice, and peace (Psalm 72:2,3). Help her to continue to experience Your blessings of flourishing and abundance (Psalm 72:6,7,15,16). May she become more of a haven for the poor and needy (Psalm 72:4). May the fear of God grow in Canada (Psalm 72:5). Help her to be a place on earth that is filled with Your glory (Psalm 72:9). May You truly have dominion in Canada from sea to sea (Psalm 72:8). Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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