Reverence for God. Can that still be expressed in public?

I don’t think I’ve ever written an article like this one. To a large degree, it’s most unusual for a Canadian to write a blog like the one you are now reading. And still furthermore, before you stop reading, please let me reassure you that this is not a political statement. But today, I gave thanks to God for the U.S.A.

My thanksgiving comes out of watching some of the newscasts surrounding hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina. My wife and I have very dear friends in North Carolina, so we have watched the news feed with a great deal of interest and concern.

In one tragic incident, a tree had come down on a house and killed a mother and her young child. The father was pinned underneath either the tree or other rubble and was subsequently rescued. But what caught my eye was the story of the rescuers. When hearing that a child was involved, they worked feverishly to get at both the child and the mother. One can imagine the additional adrenaline as hours passed before they were able to get to them. In the end, both had perished.

But after it was all done, the news cameras came upon the scene of these strong, rugged, brave firemen and other rescuers. They had formed a circle. The ones in the middle were on their knees, and the ones who surrounded them had placed their hands on the shoulders of the ones kneeling. They were all men, and they were all in prayer. The emotion and the burden under which they laboured went in prayer to the God who is sovereign over all things.

It occurred to me that the U.S.A. is the only western country where one can still witness such a scene. I remembered just a few years back when the Swiss Air tragedy occurred off the eastern coast of Canada. Our then Prime Minister forbade any clergyman from reading Scripture and offering prayers to the Father in the name of the Son. I’m also reminded that Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled against a Canadian Christian university in its practice of demanding fidelity to Christian ethics. This is the burden that those of us who love Christ labour within this country. And thus, knowing the frown of our culture on Christian faithfulness, I couldn’t have imagined a natural disaster in this country where rescuers spontaneously gather for prayer. But there it was in the Carolinas for all the world to see. Rugged, brave and sacrificial men, falling to their knees and calling on the name of the Lord their God. I was in tears as I watched that scene on my television.

The scene, as remarkable as it was for a Canadian observer, is a witness to just how abnormal a nation we have become. But it’s also true now in Europe, Australia, and other western democracies. While it is true that all of those countries still have churches where Christ is honoured and exalted, America alone still has a public display of reverence to God. As I watched, I gave thanks – not just for these men, but for a nation that has men who are like this; I gave thanks to God for the U.S.A.