Encouragement From The Word

Our Christian heritage, set to music

Happy Canada Day weekend!

As Canadians, we’re not big on flag-waving.  We’re pretty meek and humble when it comes to our national pride.  (So it’s a little ironic, in the area where I live, that I see more Italian flags this weekend than Canadian ones, given what will be the final battle in the Euro Cup Soccer Tournament!)

Amid the multicultural mosaic that is Canada’s reality today, we must not neglect the fact that Canada was built and founded on Christian principles by Christian leaders.  Even our national anthem, despite attempts to excise “God keep our land” from the official text, still points to our Christian roots as a nation.  If you dig deeper, you’ll find an even stronger Christian tie.

For example, the French text of the anthem, translated into English, reads like this:

O Canada! Land of our forefathers


Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.


As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,


So also is it ready to carry the cross.


Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.

Thy valour steeped in faith

Will protect our homes and our rights


Will protect our homes and our rights.

The text of Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier says more about homes and rights than it does about Canada, but it also has us sing that we are “ready to carry the cross” – there’s no more blatant Christian image than that one!

And The Hon. Robert Stanley Weir, who wrote the original English text to O Canada, offers in his last verse (there were four) a very brave prayer:

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,


Hold our dominion within thy loving care;


Help us to find, O God, in thee


A lasting, rich reward,


As waiting for the Better Day,


We ever stand on guard.

O Canada! O Canada!


O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.


O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.                   

As we wait for the “Better Day”, let’s do all we can to help all Canadians know the “lasting, rich reward” that can be had by faith in Christ.

He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72.8, NIV).

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2 thoughts on “Our Christian heritage, set to music”

  1. A number of churches I’ve been in have sung O Canada followed by the 2nd verse of Lord of the Lands.

    Almighty Love, by thy mysterious power,
    In wisdom guide, with faith and freedom dower;
    Be ours a nation evermore
    That no oppression blights,
    Where justice rules from shore to shore,
    From lakes to northern lights.
    May love alone for wrong atone;
    Lord of the lands, make Canada thine own!

    Usually the second line is changed to:
    In wisdom guide, throughout this crucial hour

    …and the last two lines are dropped in favour of:
    God keep our land, glorious and free… (etc.)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Paul. On the Sunday closest to Canada Day and Remembrance Day, we use all three verses of Watson’s “Lord of the Lands”, along with the national anthem. On Sunday, for a twist, I also closed out the worship gathering with the fourth verse of Weir’s original text to O Canada. A brave prayer!

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