Meeting my dad was truly one of the hardest and most culminating moments of my life. It's easy to preach peace; it's a whole other reality to live it! When I finally did meet him in Toronto, it felt like we made peace. Although our initial conversation focused on keeping things light, we were able to chat a little deeper and by the second meeting I was even able to verbally offer him forgiveness. I was amazed. I was free of bitterness and the need for justified recompense and felt the relationship had a promising future, depending on our communication skills and ability to stay in touch (he only lives part time in Canada).
When I was in college, I applied for a unique fellowship grant. It allowed one to create and explore a deep personal life passion. As I pondered what I would like to pursue, I felt lead to apply to research and experience first hand a number of diverse international peace-building and global reconciliation projects. Although many of the countries I wanted to go to were red-flagged or limited by a guideline which inhibited revisiting places I'd been, like beautiful Rwanda, I made it through to the final round. I never did get the grant and it was during this time, that I felt the Lord kindly remind me that I already knew the answer to the question I was asking about peace and reconciliation. He was the answer.
He had interceded for the rebels (Isaiah 53), which included anything from hate crime and genocide, to the proud and haughty of heart. He had humbled Himself and made his home amidst broken humanity, to suffer in order that we might be healed. He alone is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9), and we are His children, called to follow in His path.
That path had lead me to Quebec, where I had been blessed to process the dreams God had laid upon my heart with a Dream Champion. One of these dreams was exploring my identity as a new Canadian, which had lead me on the road I was now on. A road east to the Maritimes. I was so excited! First stop - Fredricton!
Driving east with my Quebec number plate proudly proclaiming, Je me souviens
(I will remember), I thought about the significance of what it meant to be Canadian. What do we remember?
The pain of the past, or the redemptive possibility of the present?
National Peacekeepers Day is a day, officially remembering the military peacekeeping activities of Canadian veterans. It was started in 2008, in commemoration of the greatest single loss of Canadian lives on a peacekeeping mission. Known for their part in conflict resolution in the nations, Canadians continue to go into some of the most hostile areas of the world to help. "More than 125,000 Canadian peacekeepers have served, and some 120 have died, on more than fifty international peacekeeping missions. In Ottawa, Reconciliation, The Peacekeeping Monument, which is featured on Canada's $10 bill, honours this legacy" (National History Museum, Ottawa).
Who are the renowned Canadian peacekeepers of my time? And what does it really mean to be a Godly peacekeeper?
"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God."
As I drove, I listened to my Spotify playlist, including a new favourite, Pioneers, and after several hours of driving through rain and cloud, over grassy hills, passed misty rivers, and through deeply forested areas without a soul in sight, I came across a double rainbow.
As I pulled over at the Woodstock exit, by a Wesleyan church, the glorious rainbows reminded me of the "double portion" and God's promises over the nation. One promise I was clearly praying over Canada was:
"Father turn the hearts of the fathers to the children
and the hearts of the children to the fathers!"
On my journey across Canada, and in light of my recent reunification with my dad, this was clearly my prayer and trumpet call over the nation. Je me souviens, what God has done!
Just hours later, after my first night in New Brunswick, I awoke to the sobering news of a shooting in the city I had just arrived in. The whole nation was in shock. This was a tragedy too close to home. Isn't this the kind of news you here in other parts of the world? Not Canada?
At the church I visited the Sunday after the shooting, the pastor called the church to prayer, and to weep with those who weep. There is great comfort knowing that Jesus was a man acquainted with suffering. He is very near to us in all our afflictions. He is our peace.