I sincerely hope you and your family enjoy this day (July 1) together. As Canadians, we have much to celebrate. We’ve been blessed to live in one of the greatest nations on earth. In a day of economic uncertainty, Canada fares well; we live in a land of undeniable plenty. In a day of global conflict, we live in a land of significant peace and security. Within a global community of evil dictatorships and oppressive regimes, we live in a land of liberty and freedom. And we, of all Canadians, who live in the grand province of Alberta, know we live in a land of stunning beauty. The vast rolling fields of yellow canola, the deep blue skies, the rich red sunsets over the jagged Rocky peaks: Can you believe we get to live here and witness this splendour!
Yes, we have much to celebrate today. But let’s not forget our yesterday, our heritage. One hundred and fifty years ago, on July 1st, 1867, Canada became a nation with the signing of the British North America Act (BNA Act). On that day, the British colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada united to become one nation within the British Empire. The Constitution Act of 1867 states:
“…on and after that Day those Three Provinces shall form and be One Dominion under that Name accordingly.”
According to our historical documents, Canada is a dominion. And like all dominions, our nation has a monarch. The Fathers of Confederation preferred the title ‘Kingdom of Canada,’ but the British were concerned such a name would ruffle American ‘feathers’ in the wake of the American Civil War. So, at the request of the British government to find another title, one of the Fathers, Leonard Tilley, suggested ‘dominion.’
Unmistakably, ‘dominion’ has Biblical overtones. Psalm 72:8 (ESV) – “May he have dominion from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Our Maker’s dominion exceeds our nation. It encompasses every nation and all creation. Psalm 103:19 states- “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom (or, dominion) rules over all.” Psalm 47:2 makes the divine monarchy explicit. It says “…the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.” God, even Christ the Lord, is “a great king over all the earth.”
That Christ is a monarch ruling over the dominion of “all the earth” is a truth with many implications. Space limits what can be said here. But allow me to very briefly mention one of those implications. Just as every king has absolute authority over his dominion, Christ has absolute authority over His. This means “all the earth,” including the nations and all humankind, is subject to Him. Whether we acknowledge it or not, whether or not we like it, or live in keeping with it, Christ has, and is in fact exercising, authority over us. Does it not make sense therefore, to see Him as the final and ultimate authority?
Of course, authority is taboo today. It’s often frowned upon and frequently viewed with suspicion. But the truth is we all submit to some authority, even if that authority is “me.” So the question isn’t whether or not we trust authority per se, but “What, or who, will I trust?” Myself? Some self-proclaimed expert or otherwise credentialed religious pro? Why not the authority above all authorities, the King of kings, the monarch ruling “over all the earth”? He has given us a great gift in the Bible. The Bible is the great manifesto of the King of kings. It’s His “Throne Speech” so to speak, the King’s word to us, revealing much about Him. It doesn’t answer every question we might have. But it does answer the big and most important questions like: “How can a man be in the right before God?” (Job 9:2). Do you know the answer? Are you sure? Are good works and being the best you can be the answer? And what, if any, are the King’s demands and provisions? Are you willing to bank your eternity on whatever your answers are? If your answers don’t line up with what the Bible says, you are in great and tremendous peril. What does the Bible say? Don’t take my word for it. Today I simply encourage you to pick up a Bible and discover the answers for yourself.
There’s so much more I could say. But for now, for this day, remember that our nation’s heritage speaks of a dominion. I truly wish you and yours every good wish as we celebrate Canada, God’s good gift to us, though a mere dim shadow of a far greater kingdom.
Pastor Braye studied at Canadian Theological Seminary and the University of Alberta. Presently he labors for “Pastoral Leadership Development at Action International Ministries” In the past he served as pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church and Beckwith Baptist Church. He is From Edmonton, Alberta