Apologies, blogging our Canada Day post was a bit delayed.
by June Friesen
Happy Canada Day to many relatives as well as friends. Canada holds many memories for me from my early childhood. Growing up in North Dakota about 90 miles from the border of the United States and Canada we visited the Canadian border nearly every summer. The International Peace Gardens in the photo above was a favorite Sunday picnic place for our family. The above photo is from a visit about eight years ago. The water feature in the center runs on the border of Canada and the United States. As a child one of my favorite things was to save money and stock up on toffee that I could buy on the Canadian side. My grandmother loved the rose garden and there was a particular rose that attracted her eye. It did not have a name on it but she discovered that it was called ‘Peace Rose.’ She ordered at least one and it was her pride and joy when it bloomed every year.
God has gifted us with so many beautiful places worldwide. With different climates we have the opportunity to be blessed with many different species of plants as well as animals. When I visit gardens like these I am reminded that when God initially created the world it says He placed humanity in a beautiful, perfect garden. This garden was established as a symbol of peaceful relationship between the United States and Canada. On the west coast there is the Peace Arch park which in on the border which is also a beautiful place. In the Scriptures we are reminded throughout about how important it is for people to learn to live in peace, to be respectful of each other’s nation, to be respectful of all people and most of all to be prayerful for our countries as well as the leaders of our countries. Paul writes in Romans 13: 1-3 Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear. 3-5 Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live. 6-7 That’s also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders.
Here Paul encourages us to live as responsible and decent, law-abiding citizens. This is for anyone of us no matter what country where we live. In today’s world, with movement of people being rather easy for the most part one may find that you are not presently living in your birth country. Many years ago I chose to go to Canada to attend a Bible college. I completed a three year course and graduated. During that time I met a young man, a fellow student, who was from Canada; he now has been my husband for 51+ years. After our graduation we returned to our hometowns to further our education. Two years later we were married and we moved to Canada. I remember crossing the border with a list of my belongings as well as getting the paperwork and instructions for application to live in Canada. My husband assured me that I would not be living in the United States ever again so I worked on completing all of the necessary process so I could legally work and live in Canada. When our two boys were born, I still had my US citizenship and my husband assured me I did not need to register their births in the US. Fast forward 8 years and we found ourselves on our way to the United States for him to complete his seminary education. And as for today the past 43 years the United States has been our home. My husband and my sons are US citizens but have retained their Canadian citizenship as well. As a family we have done our best to maintain good citizenship in both countries. I admit that I may sometimes wonder when my husband especially will quit reminding me about Canadian customs or holidays yet it is important that we realize that God has told us we are to be respectful of where we live at all times.
Let me just share what I have learned over my lifetime that has blessed and enriched my life by spending several years in Canada as a resident. In the work force as a nurse I soon learned that there was several nationalities present as fellow employees as well as clients and there was an equal acceptance of all. When there were struggles it was more personal issues. I learned to be respectful as well as appreciative of new immigrants as well as those who were already first and second generation born. There was recognition of other’s cultures, dress, foods etc. It was in the first home we owned in Canada that I learned how to make from scratch real ‘Italian pasta sauce’ and the proper use of herbs and which herbs to use and not use for Italian cooking. You see my neighbor, who became a good friend, had only been in Canada about eight years. She loved nothing more than helping me learn about Italian cooking and traditions. Over the years of my life, I have been able to experience so much of the beauty that God created and placed in the beautiful country of Canada. As in any country there is variety in each and every province. For those of you reading this if you have not been to visit you will find it to be a place of unique beauty wherever you go. The seasons of the year are able to embraced quite fully anywhere and there is a unique beauty in each of the provinces. And for those who are residents I commend you for embracing your country and being the welcoming country that you are. God has blessed your nation with a uniqueness in so many ways – climate, countryside, cities, waterways, mountains, cities and humanity. Yes, today we salute Canada – Happy Canada Day.
Writing and photos by June Friesen. Scripture from The Message translation.
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