|Intercessors for Canada|
Mid-Month Notes - May 2003
As I launch out with IFC I am trying to understand some of the issues that are important to Canada and how we should pray into them. This month I am commenting on the definition of marriage, children at risk, and megacentres. I want to be clear and provoking without being too subtle. I want to communicate an urgency and a spirit of prayer. Your feedback would be very helpful.
THE SEPARATION OF COMMONSENSE AND STATE I am shocked, but should I be? Last week the BC Court of Appeal ruled that Canada’s legal definition of marriage violated the equality rights of homosexual couples wishing to marry. They want to replace the existing definition, ‘the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others’ with ‘the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others’. Parliament has been given until July 12th, 2004, to make the necessary changes to the Marriage Act.
But having just read an article in the Globe and Mail by William Johnson I am no longer surprised. He made the logic so clear. I quote him: “ But in a country that, in principle, separates church and state, the state has a secular objective in legislating marriage. Its concern is to promote public order and general welfare, not religious doctrine. Religions can continue to promote their respective views of marriage. The state will ensure religious freedom, while pursuing other values, including the equality of citizens, the dignity of all individuals, and the better public health that comes from encouraging more stable sexual relationships.”
That’s it in a nutshell! I see it now. Religions can be tolerated if they do not interfere in the secular, pragmatic process. MP Elsie Wayne can go red in the face appealing for commonsense and the status quo re marriage: (Quote from House of Commons Debate) “There is not any need for this nonsense whatsoever and we should not have to tolerate it inCanada”
Sorry Elsie, but we do have to tolerate it, as the state has already decided, in principle. You and your views have been separated from the state! So where does this leave the praying Christian? There is another separation we need to consider - the separation of soul and spirit. see Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
The intercessors of Canada are aware that there is a God, ‘with whom we have to do,’ and that nothing is hidden from His sight. The soul life is concerned with what I feel, what I think and what I know without reference to God. It is the energy of the world system; but the life lived in the spirit is devoted to what God feels, what God thinks and what God knows. I believe that the struggle with secularism can only be answered by a church that is filled with the Spirit, that walks in the Spirit and proclaims the living and active word of God. Hebrews 4:14 says that: ‘we have ... Jesus, the Son of God’. We need to be separated unto Him more and more in these challenging days. Pray for a greater intimacy with the Saviour and a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our Land.
PRAYING FOR THE PEACE, (SHALOM) OF OUR CITIES - JEREMIAH 29:7 Shalom is a gloriously inclusive word that means prosperity, health, success in every area of life. The Hebrew sages did not know that the church could be separated from the state! Shalom reaches everywhere - even to our health. The older I get I realize that good health boils down to about four things: plenty of walking, drink lots of water, eat fruits and vegetables daily, and do not smoke! This is very simple and yet so difficult to be sensible particularly if you are young.
A report just out identifies Canadian children as ‘Generation H’, the H being for heart attack! This is an alarming trend as our children are developing major risk factors for heart disease at such a young age. In 1999, 37% of children between the ages of 2-11were overweight and 18% were obese. Children must change their lifestyle or one day join the 80,000 Canadians who die every year from cardiovascular diseases. What does the intercessor do with this? Separate it off to the state to deal with? We must pray 'shalom' upon our children and encourage those around us by example to have healthy lifestyles. Generation H and X etc need the power of God in their lives. Pray for a mighty awakening amongst the children and youth of Canada.
O’ METROPOLITAN CANADA, WE STAND ON GUARD FOR THEE ! Paul Martin promised last week, that when elected as the Liberal Leader and Prime Minister he would dramatically increase immigration levels each year to 1% of the total population of Canada, about 300,000 new arrivals. Now the majority of immigrants move to one of the big cities, increasing a huge trend that is about to influence Canada in a major way. One in every two Canadians already live in one of four metropolitan centres. More and more are living in this emerging metropolitan Canada that is so different from the rest of small town Canada. The megacentres are:
Greater Montreal Greater Toronto Area BC’s Lower Mainland The Edmonton - Calgary ‘corridor’
Smaller provinces, territories or towns could easily find themselves eclipsed in the years to come by these fast growing and powerful centres. This calls for great wisdom at the national level to find the right balance of flexibility in government. But what a challenge to live in and pray for the transformation of our megacentres! The Gospel is successful and the transforming power of Jesus Christ must be felt at every area and level of society. What a challenge to cry out to God for the new type of Christian leadership that is needed in these complex cities. We need leaders of stature to be raised up for such a time as this who have both the power of convocation and the ability to confront secularism with the word of God and be listened to. Please pray for this fervently. Our nation is still very young and formative. Will the Canadian prayer movement adapt to keep pace, or can we actually be ahead of the trend in the Spirit of Christ? God give us a hunger for this and much wisdom.
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