Every year on Canada Day, we gather family and friends to celebrate the birthday of our oldest grandchild, Vanessa. We laugh and talk, swim in their pool, eat too much, and enjoy the fireworks in the evening. It’s a peaceful time. We know we’re blessed with a wonderful family and in my mind, with being citizens of the best country in the world.
Always the horror, violence, war that comes through the news media seeps into my mind and reminds me that the peace of our Canadian nation is fragile. On June 19, our neighbours to the south were once again struck with the brutality that comes with festering hatred. A young man, just 21, is accused of sitting for an hour in that historic church in Charleston while the people prayed, then opening fire on the innocent people around him,. The story brings tears to my heart. Peace is built on love and acceptance, not hatred and violence.
We would like to think that such horror could not happen in our precious Canada, yet we know that racial prejudice lurks beneath the surface of our calm Canadian veneer. Stories of racial profiling by police, the disappearance of First Nations women, fear of Muslims and more fill our newspapers. More and more people seem to have access to guns, even here in Canada.
Canada Day is a time to make a renewed commitment to the love and acceptance of all people. To follow the “Way of Christ” is to love God and love one another. It is our calling to live and to teach that all people, regardless of race, gender, whatever differences, all people are God’s beloved children. If we fail to live and teach this basic value, the peace and joy of our great land will disintegrate. Living in love and peace is a privilege that entails responsibility.
A friend sent me the following link to an article written by Rev. Christy Thomas of Denton, Texas, in response to the African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting. The article discusses five factors that create hate. It’s worth taking the time to read it.
“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
(I John 3:11)