The 2010 Winter Olympics are underway here in Canada and record numbers of people watched the opening ceremonies on Friday night. The show was filled with pageantry and celebrated Canada's multi-faceted diversity. As Olympic ceremonies go it was predictable in terms of the kinds of people who were highlighted and the mythological lore that was spun. However the danger in trying to cover all the politically correct bases and include all possible interest groups is that a picture of Canada emerges that does not resemble reality, at least not reality as experienced by many Canadians historically and for many present Canadians on a day-to-day basis.
As I watched the multimedia presentation there was very little that 'rang true' for me as someone who was born and raised and who has lived in Canada all my life. This is not to say that my view is the only view or that others have not experienced Canada in different ways, its just to say that I was amused about what was being said about the country that I have lived in for over half a century. Some of it 'rang true' but much did not. When I stop that ask why, the answer, I think, has to do with a portrayal of Canada that tries to push faith, with the notable exception of aboriginal spirituality, to the periphery of life.
This, of course, is impossible. Faith, is not an optional extra but an important part of life, including life here in Canada. This great nation is more than breathtaking landscapes, mountains, prairies, great lakes, and forests. We are certainly more than hockey, Tim Hortons, and some talented singers, dancers and actors. It is more than our contributions to space exploration and international peace-keeping. Canada is more that beautiful cities and towns that dot the land from east to west. And she is more than vast open spaces and a country rich in natural resources. Canada is more than a mosaic of different peoples from all over the world who have come looking for a better life and for the opportunity to live in peace and freedom.
Canada is a nation that has enjoyed a level of prosperity and freedom almost unheard of in the history of the world because for this brief window in time God has granted us such blessings, even though we do not deserve it more than anyone else. This being true, we are very foolish if we do not acknowledge his blessing and grace in some way, for such blessings are not guaranteed forever, and for all our hard work and accomplishments we will get nowhere if he does not continue to smile upon us.
Canada is known as a nation that stretches from "sea to sea" a phrase that comes from Psalm 72:8 and speaks prophetically about the rule of the Messianic King and the extent of his victory. This national slogan recalls of a day when our leaders were not afraid to speak of spiritual realities and faith. Our revised national anthem which now includes the line "God keep our land glorious and free" is a move in the right direction. Many Canadians know this. We live and move in this reality and we should not hesitate to celebrate it, even at the Olympics. Something to think about!