“After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." Genesis 15:1 (NIV)
There is lot of history in our National Anthem. Originally called, “Chant National”, O Canada was written in French by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. Calixa Lavallée composed the music and it was first performed in Quebec City on June 24, 1880. Some twenty years later, various translations into English were created, but the one that we are familiar with today was written by Robert Stanley Weir and first performed in 1908. On January 31, 1966, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson made a motion in the House of Commons stating “that the government be authorized to take such steps as may be necessary to provide that ‘O Canada’ shall be the National Anthem of Canada”. But it took until 1980 when, finally, The National Anthem Act was passed unanimously by the House of Commons and the Senate on June 27, and received Royal assent the same day, making ‘O Canada’ the official national anthem of Canada.
John Piper has said, “The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world.” The Lord came to Abraham and said, “I am … your very great reward.” God’s reward is not wealth on earth, or good health, or even the glorious mansions of heaven – God’s reward is to give Himself to His people. It is in knowing Him, and loving Him, and worshipping Him, and fearing Him that we find true satisfaction, the satisfaction that the world promises but can not deliver.
The writers of “O Canada” understood to some degree that our only comfort in life and in death was to belong to this God who is our Ruler Supreme, and our lasting rich reward! May God enable us to be a light in a nation that is drifting further from the one true God! Here is the often neglected fourth verse of O Canada:
Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion within thy loving care;
Help us to find, O God, in thee
A lasting, rich reward,
As waiting for the better Day,
We ever stand on guard.