The Centre Block Of Parliament has closed its doors for a period of 10 years while the building is restored. The Senate and the House of Commons have moved offsite for the first time in almost 100 years.
Throne Speech and Return to the
Parliament September 23rd
The Throne Speech opens every new session of Parliament in Canada and introduces the federal government's direction and goals, and outlines how it will work to achieve them. This Throne Speech, on September 23rd, has already caused speculation that there could be federal election in the near future. Canadians might not want to see an election but in reality, the various federal parties need to make themselves ready in the event that one is called.
The speech is expected to have 3 major parts:
1) A focus on preventing a spike in Covid-19 cases that would trigger another national lock down.
2) Changes to social programs to help Canadians deal with the effects of the Covid-19 virus.
3) Resiliency and economic recovery.
Federal Government Prayer Points
As our Canadian banks are calling for caution in over-spending, pray for a restrained and achievable plan by our government that will aid us in an economic recovery. Pray that this will be reflected in the upcoming Throne Speech.
Because of the speculation that there could be an election call and the challenges this brings in the middle of a pandemic, pray that Canadians would also prepare themselves to vote, not out of fear of the Covid-19, but for a righteous government to lead us through these difficult global times.
Pray for the MPs returning to Ottawa with all the Covid-19 restrictions they are dealing with. Pray that they will be given grace and patience to abide by these rulings and as well, not be held back from the work they need to do.
Pray for the health of our political leaders; their families and their staff. Bloc leader, Yves-Francois Blanchet who's wife and staffers tested positive for Covid-19, therefore, the Bloc caucus and staffers are self-isolating. Pray for the Conservative leader, Erin O'Toole, his family and employees as they self-isolate due to a member of his staff recently testing positive for Covid-19.
Continue to uphold our teachers and education ministers who are all under extreme pressure to see schools functioning for our children. Pray that Canadians will remain calm and considerate as our provincial governments try and get this right without causing a second wave of the pandemic.
Pray for our neighbours in the U.S. as they prepare for their upcoming national elections, November 3rd. Pray for integrity within the American media that they will report truthfully without bias. Pray for a blanket of peace to affect the current tensions, and that regardless of who wins the presidency, a calmness will prevail in the aftermath.
Endurance to Stay Christ-Centred
in Our Approach to Government
In establishing the National House of Prayer (NHOP) back in 2004, our primary mandate was clearly spelled out as 'activating strategic prayer for Canada and its' leaders'. This vision statement caused us to re-locate to Ottawa and purchase a building where the torch of intercession could continue to burn for our federal government, and later, provincial governments as well.
Many people came from across Canada to join in this call and many others have, (and continue) to join us from afar. Other ministries with a similar calling were birthed, or influenced from NHOP, and sixteen years later, we still are calling people to pray for all our governments as we are exhorted to do:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
1) The Church has a Role in Addressing Human Government
Intricate to loving our neighbours, Christians need to have a voice in our society where we bring the influence of God for a just and fair nation. In a very real way, we are called to be the salt and light of God's kingdom in all aspects of society, which definitely includes the political sphere.
Prophetically, (which I mean in the pointed application of Scripture), we should do all we can to be God's ambassadors to encourage righteousness in our government and society. This is a high calling and should be there not only when things are going well, but in difficult times as well. When government steps away from their God-given task of serving the people through bringing order and justice, (see Romans 13:1-4), we should caution our government leaders. When government goes further, and begins to remove freedoms and hinder human flourishing, we as Christians need to employ peaceful measures to oppose and intervene.
Church history is full of stories of galant men and women who demonstrated great endurance in holding governments accountable towards God and to the people of that nation. The pressure to alter or compromise their views led to persecution if they dared to disagree. For example, consider the life of the German Pastor Martin Niemöller who stood against Hitler's Nazism and was therefore imprisoned and nearly died for his courageous stand.
2) Remaining Christ-Centred
While we can address important issues from the pulpit, I personally do not believe that the pulpit is the place for partisan politics. The loving trust of a congregation for their pastor makes it extremely easy, and therefore wrong, to influence people in how they may vote as individuals.
Yes, pastors can and should speak into the issues that are blatantly defiling our nation like the great wrong of abortion; sexual sins; the recent racial tensions; etc. However, one can speak about such issues without necessarily becoming political. People need to be discipled regarding the value of life from conception to natural death, or why sex outside of marriage is wrong and brings harm to society. I could go on and on, but we need to teach the truth of God's Word regarding moral issues that are affecting our society.
These moral issues and more will come up through faithfully preaching God's Word. However, the pulpit is first and foremost to centre on drawing individuals to the sphere of the eternal Kingdom of God, where we are lovers of King Jesus and we are not Conservative, Green, NDP or Liberal. Jesus is our champion! And yes, Jesus does speak about these issues regardless which political stripe we care to be.
3) Endurance to Not Diminish the Prophetic Edge
While teaching from the pulpit, a posture of not remaining politically neutral for a Christian leader can soon begin to erode a prophetic edge to that leader's prophetic ministry. Holding a neutral posture of neither left or right enables a leader to speak the truth into whoever or whatever they are talking about without the worry of losing someone's allegiance to God's kingdom.
It would take a very wise and strong Christian leader to function as a spiritual advisor to a political leader and yet maintain their ultimate loyalty to Christ. The enticement for such a role can easily become a spiritual trap where a spiritual leader can be 'used' as a trophy for that political leader. In addition, a Christian leader must never put themselves in a compromising position where they, out of relationship, would refrain from bringing needed correction to that politician.
4) Holding on to the Eternal
As a Christian, we are here to glorify God which means we are to live out the gospel message. We need to let the truth penetrate into a person's very soul, this is infinitely more important than a political discussion.
The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production
or preservation of all the epics and tragedies of the world.
C.S. Lewis, Christian Reflections 10
The above is the climate, both spiritual and practically, of the New Testament, and it is where, we as Christians are meant to give our allegiance. The greater impact of the New Testament Church was not through politicizing their voice, but it came through the penetrating message of eternal salvation to an individual's heart.
Canadian Christians do not need their pastors / leaders to become experts in every issue that faces our government, (leave that to those who have a calling in this sphere). They do however, need leaders who are giving themselves to the systematic application of the Word of God. Like I said above, when a preacher is both bold and faithful to teach the whole counsel of God, their messages will certainly touch on the subjects of abortion, marriage / divorce, promiscuity, homosexuality, just to name a few. But, we must never lose sight that the more important issues of life are not temporal, but eternal. This requires faithful endurance.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?