Dear Friends,

Happy day-after-Canada Day! I wrote this blog on June 27, so I do not know if the day went off without a hitch or if there was a terrorist incident. Like most Canadians who pray, I was praying that the day would go without a hitch.

Almost three weeks ago I had lunch with a group of church planters and potential church planters. It was hosted by C2C. They are the main church-planting organization in Canada. They are also the people we share the ground floor space with at 315 Lisgar St.  Anyway, Mark Burch, the key operational leader of C2C, shared with us how the name of the organization was chosen. He said it was a play on words on the Scripture text that Sir Leonard Tilley quoted when Canada was named “The Dominion of Canada.” Psalm 72:8 “…He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.” After Mark was finished I said that it was comforting to know that a member of Church of the Messiah had helped choose his organization’s name. I explained that Sir Leonard Tilley attended St Albans, the name Church of the Messiah had from 1865 to 2011. Mark responded by asking me what it was like to be Tilley’s pastor and what it was like to have been a pastor for so long! The room laughed. We moved on.

I share this story to remind us that, while Canada has never been a Christian country, the Christian faith had a clear and public role in the founding of Canada and for most of Canada’s history. This truth is ignored (or denied) by the secular elites who run Canada now, but it is true. For many years Canada’s motto referred to God having dominion in the Dominion of Canada. (Psalm 78 is still on the east side of the Peace Tower.)

Today, Church of the Messiah lives and worships amidst the ruins and fragments of Christendom. We minister in a prosperous, secular city which is keen on keeping the Christian faith on the margins of society. But, we are called to love our city, to pray and work for its flourishing. We do not love Ottawa to the extent that it is Christian. We love it because it is our vocation to live here – so we pray and work for its blessing and flourishing. We are not called to love the idols of our city. In fact, we are to flee all idols. We love the city and its citizens – always remembering we are to have a heart for the whole world and its people-groups at the same time.

Idols try to form what we do and do not pray for. We are to be formed only by the Word of God as seen through the lens of the Gospel – the person and work of Jesus. The Gospel is to shape our vocation. The city needs the Gospel, even if the city does not know this. We know that the city and its citizens need to hear the Gospel.

George +