Autumn is my favorite time of year. The brilliant colors of the leaves turning from green to yellow and red creates some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. There is of course a tinge of sadness in my heart because I know the summer has ended and the bitter cold of winter approaches. I can't help thinking it's God's way of artistically portraying the principle of death and resurrection. In his economy where there is death there is always life to follow.
I am completely fascinated with falling leaves. As they flutter to the ground I realize they have served their purpose and fall to the ground never to live again. It is ironic they do so clothed with color. Individually there are never so beautiful as when they fall and die.
This fall it was not a leaf that fell but a man, specifically an unarmed soldier symbolically guarding Canada's sacred war memorial in Ottawa. Dressed with a uniform of radiant color there he stood doing his duty when suddenly a deranged radical took his life with a shotgun blast. Representing our country, this noble Canadian was brutally struck down. A "leaf" fell to the ground. Nothing could be more tragic. All of us died a certain kind of death with him. We all knew Canada would never be the same.
Like trees in the spring whose roots replenish themselves with springtime life, Canada immediately revived from the attack. Our prime minister declared we would not be intimidated and demonstrated that resolve by walking with his wife in the early morning to lay at wreath at the monument where the soldier fell. The day before as the shooting was unfolding by the hand of the same perputrator another brave Canadian, Kevin Vickers, parliament's sergeant at arms took a risk and undertook the dangerous task of confronting the shooter and gunning him down. He saved countless lives as a result.
So, like our tress our leaves will revive. We will rise again. We will overcome this cowardly attack and we will hold on to the values that make us who we are. That was the message repeated time and time again moments after the horrible tragedy.
Canada is a peace loving nation and the most tolerant in the world. We offer freedoms to our citizens regardless of their origins to a degree unequalled by any other country.
Anyone who lives in the true north is indeed strong and free, we insist on it. We are open and fearless humble and unassuming but when it comes to defending our land against evil; we are relentless; as relentless as the spring is against the winter.
This resolve does not come from humanism. Nor from secularism. It comes from a decency and strength of character that stems from the roots of Christian heritage. History attests to that. Even though most Canadians are not overtly devout, it is good to remind ourselves we are what we are because our founding fathers knew very well that if our country is to survive it must recognize the God of the Bible, who is not a gangster, a murderer or a jihadist deity but a God of love mercy and grace extending his goodness to all. So do we. We recognized our country must be HIS dominion from 'sea to sea" and that is what makes us what we are.
On that note, may God keep our land glorious and free. We would do well to call on his name for the families of the deceased and for the protection of our nation trusting in him to hold to our values with even greater determination doing all we can to make sure no more leaves may fall in this way but instead thrive and prosper in safety and harmony. May the glory of the Lord cover this land like the waters cover the sea. I say with my heart swelling with indignation toward the evil and pride toward our brave public servants "The Maple Leaf Forever" God bless us all.