Canada And Reconciliation

An Article For The December 1995 Deep Cove Crier
While waiting at a Parkgate Safeway checkout, I started flipping through a Time magazine.  Timeís main article was about that curious northern neighbour: Canada.  There seems to be a new fascination in the American media about why Canada seems to be so determined to self-destruct.  Accordingly there were page after page of statistics on what makes us Canucks tick.

One day before the infamous Quebec referendum, David Richardson of African Enterprise spoke in Deep Cove on the topic of Canada and Reconciliation.  David was born in Geraldton, Ontario, and, at age 10, went to spend over 40 years of his life in South Africa.  David mentioned: "I have lived as a Canadian in a foreign land, and yet in many ways have returned to Canada as a foreigner...a strange paradox that I should feel like that.  But I do."  When David came back to Canada, he felt a very clear calling to come back: "I didnít come back because of Canada or because of South Africa.  I came very clearly because the Lord called me to go home...because of lostness.  I felt God say ĎI want you to be part of my Church in Canada to deal with the lostness of Canadaí.

David sensed that in returning to Canada, he has been given two basic messages to share: 1) The message of reconciliation  2) The message of accountability.  David intuitively feels that Canadian reconciliation can be best lived out by following the pattern of 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land."  He emphasized that it is not finally in the hands of the Quebec government or the federal government or the provincial government to bring about the healing of this land.  It is in the hands of Godís people.  "I donít think that any of us have any doubt that our land needs healing.  We could take a referendum on it if you like, but I donít think itís necessary..."

Having spent over 40 years in South Africa, David sees strong parallels between the reconciliation occurring in South Africa, and the needed reconciliation in our ethnically fragmented land.  Was Jacque Parizeauís comment about "the ethnic vote and the rich" merely a slip of the tongue, or was it a warning that Quebec nationalism is in danger of creating an apartheid mentality, playing one race off against the other?  It looked during the Henry Kissinger/Lord Carrington negotiations that there would be a bloodbath in South Africa that would vastly eclipse the carnage in Rwanda.  Kissinger said that it was the worst disaster heíd ever came across.  "Humanly speaking", he said, "you are going down the drain."

In the midst of this crisis,  God led African Enterprise to bring Washington Okumu, a professor of economics in Kenya and a devoted Christian, to help with the South African negotiations.  Backed by nation-wide prayer vigils and times of public repentance, a miraculous reconciliation took place at the 11th hour of the South African crisis.  Even the secular media in South Africa and England again and again described the turn-around as "A Miracle".  Sadly the Canadian news media entirely suppressed the miraculous side of the South African breakthrough (except for the Ottawa Citizen and the Calgary Herald).  Michael Cassidy, a well known Christian leader and reconciler in South Africa, wrote a powerful book entitled "A Witness for Ever", which documents the miraculous turn of events in South Africa that averted a massive civil war.  As David Richardson spoke in Deep Cove, one day before the Quebec referendum, he showed clearly how the same miracle is desperately needed in our land, and the same principles of reconciliation are equally applicable.  May God the Reconciler keep our land of Canada glorious and free.

Rev. Ed Hird
Rector, St. Simonís Anglican Church

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