We are here to celebrate Canada.
In the Beginning God threw some of the dust He had created into a space that He had created. Then He took some of the dust and made it into billions of large balls, He then put them in clusters. Into each ball He stuck a nuclear engine and they began to shine brightly. Then God took some of the remaining dust and rolled it into billions of smaller balls and sent them spinning around the bright lights. Then God took some more of the remaining dust and made it into billions of even smaller balls and sent those spinning around the balls which were spinning around the bright lights. The rest of the dust God left to use later. God is in no rush.
On a number of the balls spinning around the bright lights God added water. On our particular little ball God also created plants and insects, animals, fish, birds and us. From a very few people we followed God’s Commandment and were fruitful and multiplied and filled the Earth.
So humans spread out across the Globe and first came here from Asia about fourteen thousand years ago and travelled down the West Coast to what is now South America. The people eventually managed to cross the Rockies, they had been blocked by Ice Age glaciers but they melted, and so the people spread eastward across the Great Plains of North America.
They settled down and tribes and nations divided the land amongst themselves into what are called their Traditional Territories. As they were nomads there was no point in putting up fences and saying ‘this is my property’. They lived mainly in peace but did war against each other over resources, just the way we do today.
About a thousand years ago the Vikings came for the timber, and lived here for a while. About that time the Church declared the Doctrine of ‘Terra Nullius’, that is if the land was not occupied then it could be claimed for Christ, essentially it meant that if a land was not occupied by ‘white people’, it could be claimed for Christ. That Doctrine was proclaimed worldwide and is now repudiated worldwide and has become a part of the history of Canada for which amends are being made. Many Treaties with the Indigenous Peoples were made some good, some not so.
Land is essential to life. It is a finite resource. When we run out of land we run out of the means to sustain life. In the fifteenth century Europe was getting crowded so expeditions were sent out from Europe and Europeans landed on the American continents. They explored it. Men like Champlain and Cabot, and saw as God had, that it was Good. Europeans kept coming. Land was getting tight in Europe and the rich and the powerful there were enclosing land for their own use, robbing the common people of their livelihoods, so the poor emigrated in ever increasing numbers. The French first explored the eastern part of Canada but lost it to the British who set-up a Dominion called Canada. Canada had to defend itself against aggression from the South and with the help of some of the Indigenous Peoples secured its borders. Our biggest allies were the Six Nations who came to Canada from upper New York State and settled close by on the land called the Haldimand Tract given to them for their help during the War of 1812.
In 1867 Canada became an almost independent political entity under the British North America Act. It included Upper and Lower Canada, which became Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. There was a danger that British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan might join the expanding United States of America. To counter that the Government of Canada built the Great Canadian Railroad ensuring that trade went east and west, before it went south. The strategy worked and British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island all joined Canada later. The last Province to join was Newfoundland and Labrador only seventy years ago. We are thus comprised of ten provinces and three territories, The Yukon, the Northwest Territory and Nunavut.
Canada is a land rich in resources, which is both a blessing and a curse. Resources bring jobs but who owns them is always a matter of contention. We are starting to wake-up to the effects of development of our resources and the environmental impact it has. We are a responsible country taking care of our people, except when we don’t, for reason attributed to lifestyle and race. We will need to use our great Canadian talent of balancing rights, duties and opportunity as we go forward.
We have a good reputation in the world. We have valiantly fought wars against repressive regimes to bring about peace, and we were and are instrumental in keeping that peace.
We are a resourceful nation inventing things upon which modern society depends, and have some of the best IT and AI people visioning the future ahead.
We are a multi-cultural nation. Peoples from ancient times have come and gone as nature and other forces have acted upon them. It is our challenge now to keep all who are here, welcome those who wish to join us in peace, and to nurture the identities of all Canadians.
Our tasks as Canadian Christians, no less because we are in this hamlet of Oxford Centre, is to ensure that having been given such a beautiful and prosperous land, a Promised Land if you will, flowing with milk and honey, that Canada embraces our calling to love God and love our neighbour, whomsoever that neighbour might be. Let us pray that God continues to bless Canada. Amen.