A couple of months ago, I was pleasantly surprised – and honoured – when I was invited by one of the teachers in our local high school to say grace at the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association’s basketball tournament banquet. I say surprised because when I used to live on the west coast of British Columbia in the Greater Vancouver area, you would have never heard of someone saying prayer at a public school event. But that’s one of the things that I’m thankful for living in southern Manitoba, that this part of Canada isn’t so far removed from our nation’s Christian foundations. In fact, my son Caleb was invited by the school to say grace at his high school graduation banquet last year, too.
And so I wanted to share with you a little bit of tonight’s basketball banquet that I attended with my wife Liza. We had the opportunity to share a table with Ed Dubray, the mayor of our small town of Beausejour (and his wife), Brad Saluk, the Reeve of our RM of Brokenhead (and his wife), and Wayne Ewasko (pictured here), the MLA of the Lac Du Bonnet Constituency.
Some of the evening’s entertainment included a routine by Edward Schreyer School’s cheer squad and a two-man band called “5 o’clock Somewhere”. It also included some dance routines by the Asham Stompers, a very high energy jig and square dance group whose mission is to recapture and preserve the history of the Metis people through the Traditional dancing of the Red River Jib. They also featured one of the members of Sagkeeng’s Finest, three young aboriginal men who won Canada’s Got Talent.
One of the highlights of the evening was the special guest speaker, Uzoma Asagwara. Uzoma was born in Winnipeg, and worked hard to represent Canada on the senior women’s national basketball team from 2007-2009. She shared a bit of her story and encouraged the students in attendance to pursue their dreams with all of their hearts. I’m very thankful to the MHSAA, our local high school ESS, and all of the staff, teachers, students, coaches and volunteers who worked hard to put on this event… not to mention the tournament happening this weekend!
When I said grace before our meal, I also took a moment in my short and simple prayer to pray for the leaders of our nation of Canada. Today, I want to challenge you – in whatever country you live – to be faithful in praying for the leaders of your government. The federal leaders, provincial (or state) leaders, and municipal leaders. God has given us a promise in His Word that says:
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.“ (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
As we pray for our government leaders – instead of criticising and disrespecting them – we make God’s power available for us to live quiet and peaceable lives, in godliness and reverence. And as we do this, I believe we will be able to continue to enjoy the religious freedoms that we do as well. Amen!