“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!'”
– Revelation 7:9-10
Diversity is a Kingdom value. We see that described for us by John in the above passage of scripture. God gave us diversity with intention. It’s something He desires for us to experience in perfection.
The passage doesn’t say, “I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, who all looked the same to me because I don’t see colour.”
Rather, the passage says: Every nation. Every tribe. Every people. Every language.
As Canadians, we’re taught to be proud of our diversity.
And, it’s true. Canada is one of the best places in the world to experience the richness of diversity. It’s a blessing to each person who lives, works or visits here.
But it’s not perfect. As much as the diversity we experience here in Canada can be a foretaste of the Kingdom and a clearer picture of the image of God in our collective humanity, it’s also only a taste.
For me, as a child of immigrants, Canada Day is complicated.
I’m proud to be Canadian. I’m thankful that my parents had the opportunity to immigrate here and that we are part of what makes up Canada’s diverse identity. But I’m also aware that as immigrants, we’ve experienced racism and xenophobic attitudes. We’ve sometimes received the message that we don’t belong here and that we ought to “go back to where we came from.”
I’m aware that racism is an everyday experience for Black, Indigenous and other people of colour in Canada.
I’m aware that as immigrants, we’ve settled on land that was stolen through the conquest, murder and exploitation of Indigenous peoples. Before people from all the world’s nations settled on the land we now call Canada, this land’s First Nations were already here, providing rich stewardship and diversity to this place.
I’m aware that while Canada has welcomed thousands of refugees, we have also turned away refugees in desperate need. That while our country is made up of immigrants, many of our immigration policies are also beset with discrimination. I’m aware that we allow some people through our borders only so they can work in exploitative conditions to put food on our tables as migrant workers.
More: Dig deeper with Compassion Canada’s Eyes to See book and film series.
The diversity we experience is imperfect, corrupted by our brokenness that leads to systemic injustice and abuse of power.
But the hope we have as Christ-followers is this: one day, we will experience our diversity in perfection.
I can’t wait for that day.
And in the meantime, as Kingdom people and Jesus followers, we can be part of bringing tastes of the Kingdom—including its rich diversity—on earth as it is in heaven.
We can reach across our differences and across our borders to lift each other up. We can acknowledge that while some of us may take time to celebrate our earthly kingdoms on days like Canada Day, our ultimate allegiance is to Christ’s Kingdom, where compassion, diversity, unity and justice are core values.
We have a front row seat to this at Compassion. Every day we see Canadians reaching across borders to share hope and love with children living in poverty. For most, these are children who they’ve never met, who live in completely different contexts and cultures. And in those moments and connections, we get a foretaste of the Kingdom.
For us, Canada Day is a reminder to celebrate the incredible impact that Canadians are having around the world through Compassion’s ministry. Canada Day is also the first day of our fiscal year, which means it’s an especially appropriate time to celebrate all we accomplished together in the last year.
Here are some of the incredible things Canadian Compassion supporters accomplished this year:
Canadians continue to faithfully sponsor over 110,000 children in 25 countries around the world.
Canadians raised $142,196 on Giving Tuesday to provide urgent care for refugee families in Colombia who had to make the unthinkable decision to leave their homes because of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
Canadians funded 100 Survival programs in 17 countries, in all four regions where Compassion works. This represents more than 1,500 moms who received critical support in their child’s most vulnerable years: womb and early childhood.
Canadians funded 28 water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) interventions in 13 countries, providing things like safe washrooms and clean water for children and their communities. Every one of those interventions was initiated, implemented and owned by a local church in the community, ensuring their sustainability.
Canadians funded 11 health interventions, including Saviour’s successful surgery!
And finally, since the launch of our We Rise As One campaign, Canadians have given over $530,000 to our COVID-19 relief efforts! This has enabled our local church partners to distribute hundreds of thousands of food packages and hygiene kits and provide desperately needed housing assistance. All of this is meeting critical needs that sponsorship alone wouldn’t be able to cover during this unprecedented time.
We are hopeful and excited to see Canadians hit the We Rise As One goal of $1.5 million this summer.
Those are just a few of the ways Canadians had an impact this year—and they are certainly worth celebrating. On this unusual Canada Day in the midst of a global pandemic, we honour and celebrate our diverse Canadian supporters and their immense global impact. Together, we can do the hard work to acknowledge and lean into brokenness as we seek first the Kingdom in all its beauty and diversity.