Dominion from sea to sea
It’s our Canadian motto.
From sea to sea is inscribed in the stonework of Parliament Hill – A Mari usque ad Mare – a reminder of the vastness of our nation, a reminder of the words of God that inspired that motto, and a reminder that God cares for, and exercises authority, justice and love through the people He created.
One hundred and fifty years ago this weekend, the leaders of the first four provinces of Canada – Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, signed a document that began the unification of a great and vast land into the new nation of Canada. It would be years before the land was unified from “sea to sea” but the intent and hope of that dream was clear.
Inspired by Psalm 72, the Fathers of Confederation agreed to call the new nation the “Dominion” of Canada”: He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. (Psalm 72:8 NKJV)
As believers in Christ, we have always thought of these verses in terms of God’s dominion over our nation from “sea to sea”. While this is a definite reference to the Messiah ruling over the nations, I also hear the words as a prayer for our nation, just as Israel’s King David wrote and prayed these words over his son Solomon thousands of years ago.
King David spoke these words as blessing and hope before his death, that the King would bring justice to the poor, save the children of the needy, help those who are afflicted and in need, and redeem the lives of those who are oppressed and suffer violence. Those words stand alongside the prayer and declaration that the King would also have dominion from sea to sea.
And today, on her birthday, are these words of King David, not our own?
Is that not the cry of our own hearts as Canadians?
To bring justice
To save those in need
To help the afflicted
To rescue those oppressed and suffering violence
It starts with us
While it is easy for me to write these words, it is much harder to live out of the place where I stop complaining about what is lacking in our nation and actually start to do something about it.
Take money for example.
At More Than Enough we do a lot of talking about money. We encourage financial responsibility, and the daily, intentional actions that keep us living within the boundaries of our income. When I look to the government to meet my needs, or when I look and see how fiscally irresponsible government can be, I need to stop and redirect my gaze.
If I expect certain actions and attitudes from the government, shouldn’t I be living responsibly?
If I expect mercy from the government, or from my neighbours, shouldn’t I be showing mercy?
If I expect my government to stay out of debt, shouldn’t I be staying out of debt?
In the Holy Scriptures, God calls that taking the speck out of our own eye, before we take the log out of another’s eye. We can see much more clearly, and hopefully have much more compassion for others, even our government representatives, when we know the challenges of walking out of our own debt, for example.
The means by which God exercises His authority – bringing hope, justice and love and answering these cries of our heart – is through us, His created people. So His dominion from sea to sea, starts with us: when we love our neighbour, do simple acts of kindness, and take care of our homes and families, and act with justice and mercy, grace and forgiveness.
When we declare God’s reign over our nation, we are really declaring that we are willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our homes and neighbourhoods, our communities, and our provinces and our nation as a whole.
It is time that we own what is ours, and stop neglecting the needs of those in our own daily sphere of influence.
Again I am reminded:
If I want God to be just, I need to act justly.
If I want God to love our neighbour, I need to love and act accordingly.
If I want to be shown mercy, I need to give it.
If I want government to be fiscally responsible, I need to be.
His reign and rule, His love and goodness, is to flow out of us and through us.
Call to Action
In this year of such celebration, let’s take weekly – if not daily – steps to walk in the “dominion” of God to continue to build the nation entrusted to us in this generation.
- Take care of our own – family, finances, friends – by meeting needs, encouraging one another, working and helping.
- Stop complaining and give thanks to God and others.
- Intentionally decide to do an act of kindness for someone every week if not every day – from taking cookies to a neighbour to visiting someone who is lonely.
- Volunteer in our communities – from coaching to serving at a food bank.
- Write letters to our local members of government to encourage them, and pray for them.
I, for one, will never look at Psalm 72:8 in the same way. He shall have dominion from sea to sea will always remind me of the justice, provision, love and care that God wants to bring to our nation through my own hands and feet.
Happy Canada Day! Let’s celebrate!
Rebecca van Noppen is Communications Director at More Than Enough Financial Fitness. She is also a teacher, home educator, writer, and woman who loves to pray. A lover of Jesus, she works alongside her husband Financial Coach Dave van Noppen to help others find hope and freedom in Christ on their financial journeys.