O Lord God Almighty, who rules the nations of the earth, we humbly beseech you to behold our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, that in all the things she may be led by thy guidance and protected by thy power. Give wisdom to the Governor-General of this Dominion, the Lieutenant-Governors of all the provinces, the Legislators of the Commonwealth and Empire, and all who are set in authority. Bless Prime Minister Trudeau. May peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety be established amongst us for all generations, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Book of Common Prayer
Today we celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday as a nation. Looking back in history we can conclude that the union of the first four provinces were motivated by the desire to protect individual rights, especially the rights to life, liberty, and property. The British North America Acts (BNA), which gave us permission to call ourselves a Nation, came into being in 1867. However it gave our leaders limited control over the future of the country as the United Kingdom still held the reigns. During the drafting of the Acts it was not the intent of the leaders to declare Canada to be a Christian Nation in which God’s principles would guide us. There was reference to protecting religious rights and we can even suggest that at the beginning of our nation scripture was the basis for some of the laws and guidelines used in our country. There was however no doubt that God was not our King.
Scripture tells us that when we first asked God to be ruled by a man we were making a choice to replace Him as King and set Him aside as an advisor. Kings tried to keep His laws and guidance at the forefront of their decision-making, but it did not take long before they chose to ignore God’s advice and ruled within their own means, wisdom and judgment. Nations have risen and fallen and their citizens have suffered. Governments have tried to set rules to protect the right to life, liberty, and property for all its citizens but often at the expense of others.
There have been twenty-one amendments to the BNA, some affecting the rights of the people. In 1982 Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau, along with Queen Elizabeth II, signed the Constitution Acts, which turned all remaining legislative and constitutional powers to Canada. We alone would choose our destiny as a country, whether all citizens would benefit or not is something only history can reveal.
Who said “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.” It was then Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in response to new law addressing abortions, homosexuality and contraception. He was partially acknowledging that we choose what happens in our home including whether God is part of our lives. He was relinquishing control of the intimate and important part of our lives to us by suggesting we should be in control of what happens in our home. However we give that control to God asking Him to guide us.
On this 149th birthday celebration we should enjoy the freedom we have to make the decisions that affect our relationship with God, with our family, our country, and even our leaders. We should exercise that freedom with prayer and can start by praying for our leaders who have the impossible task of trying to please every citizen of Canada. Pray they realize that it is only God they need to please. Pray they are not influenced by popularity but by moral conviction. Pray they lead by example. Pray they serve with honour and respect for this Nation that God has allowed them to lead.