Seek the Peace of the City

An election is an occasion for Christians to consider the political implications of our faith. It is a time to discern, with humility, how Jesus’ call to love our neighbours can be reflected in the public good as we work for Shalom, where human dignity, peace and justice reign. MCC 2021 Canadian Federal Election Guide

by Bekah Sears and the Peace & Justice Team

Jeremiah’s 29th chapter is arguably one of the better known passages of his book, especially for its words of comfort and encouragement from God to a people that feel discouraged. Many of us know verse 11 which outlines God’s good plans and hope for the future.

A little earlier, in verse 7, God also calls us to action – to seek the peace and prosperity of the city. It is a call to care for others and for the community.

As we are once again in a time of a Canadian federal election, it’s a great opportunity to think about how we can seek the peace of our cities, towns and communities today.

A federal election is an opportunity for all of us to shape the future of Canada. As citizens, we have the chance to call on those who are running for public office to clearly articulate their convictions and plans on significant issues.

Parliament Hill (Centre Block), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (MCC Photo/ Alison Ralph, 2015)

An election is also an occasion for Christians to consider the political implications of our faith. It is a time to discern, with humility, how Jesus’ call to love our neighbours can be reflected in the public good as we work for Shalom, where human dignity, peace and justice reign.

The MCC Peace & Justice Office has created a 2021 Canadian Federal Election Guide to help you to think through some of the key issues of today.

As we enter into an election amidst a pandemic, we have seen how COVID-19 has exacerbated and illuminated the already existing challenges of poverty, inequality, food insecurity, conflict, racism and much more, in Canada and around the world.  How can we as Canadians help bring an end to the pandemic everywhere, as well as work to address these underlying causes?

We’ve also seen growing concerns around the impact of a changing climate on people here in Canada and around the world. How can we as Canadians express love for our neighbours and creation as we respond to climate change? We are in a time of deep learning, repentance, action and reconciliation, especially as churches, with the devastating legacy of residential schools and the inter-generational impacts on Indigenous peoples. How can we as Canadians of faith support policies that foster healing, repentance and reconciliation?

MCC believes that governments should maintain a just and peaceful social order and that Christians individually, and churches collectively, have a responsibility to help governments be faithful to this calling. During this challenging year, we have seen people reaching out to their neighbours, giving to those in need, caring for others, and imagining a better future. This election is a chance to remind our government to do the same by supporting and building policies based on compassionate care and justice, especially for the most vulnerable.

Here are three of the key issues of concern for MCC partners where the Canadian government has a role to play in responding.

Anna Mwatha, shown with health promoter Joel Esapaya, is a care group leader who helps families in Mathare, an area of Nairobi, Kenya. Mwatha maintains this hand washing station, one of the 50 hand washing stations provided through an MCC partner, and teaches neighbours how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (MCC photo/Scott Stoner-Eby, 2020)

Together we can End COVID-19

MCC partners and communities around the world are very concerned about safe, equitable and effective prevention and response to the pandemic. They ask us to support measures to ensure that all countries, irrespective of wealth, have unhindered and timely access to quality, safe, effective, and affordable vaccines. The pandemic will not end anywhere unless it ends everywhere. 

While we are grateful for Canadian efforts so far, MCC believes that Canada can take more of a leadership role in urging the creation of a global vaccination plan and ensuring that our own policies around trade, vaccine dose sharing, and global health spending support ending the pandemic globally.

A seed begins to sprout in a garden in La Florida, in the Montes de Mara region of Colombia. This garden is part of MCC partner Sembrandopaz’s work rebuilding lives and livelihoods in communities affected by Colombia’s armed conflict in this region in the early 2000s. As temperatures rise and water becomes scarce, Sembrandopaz and the communities they work in are working hard to adapt to these new and challenging conditions. ( MCC photo/Annalee Giesbrecht, 2020)

Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change

We are all impacted by a changing climate. MCC partners invite us to respond in ways that uphold our commitments to justice and human dignity. 

As one of the world’s largest per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, Canada has a moral obligation to not only meet our own climate targets but to actively support countries with historically lower GHG emissions that are disproportionately impacted by climate change today.  To meet Paris Agreement targets, Canada has committed to reducing emissions by 40-45 % below 2005 levels by 2030. However to meet our fair global share we need to reduce our emissions by up to 60%.

This graphic representation of an Indian Residential School is part of a long timeline in “pictograph” style, within the “Spirit of Alliance” art installation, Saskatoon. (MCC Photo/ Randy Klassen)

Lamenting the Past and Moving Forward with Reconciliation

As churches and church-based agencies like MCC reflect, repent and seek reconciliation, we also look to the role of the government to bring concrete policy and process change.

This election, we can recognize the profoundly deep connections between the trauma of the Indian Residential School (IRS) experience and the current realities of Indigenous children being in foster care across the nation today, the continuing violence against Indigenous women and girls, as well as so many other Indigenous justice concerns across the country: fisheries, pipelines, logging rights, clean water. These are all issues where meaningful consultation with affected Indigenous nations is essential to ensure that reconciliation can take place in a good way.

We hope that you will raise such issues with candidates in your electoral riding. We also invite you to use our election resource to guide Sunday school classes or small group discussions and to share it with family members, friends, and colleagues. Also, consider using our Guide for Difficult Conversation resource to engage with others in your community and workplace. Additionally, we invite you to pray for wisdom—for candidates as they campaign, for yourself as you prepare to vote, and for those who will be chosen to provide leadership for our country.

Explore MCC’s 2021 Canadian Federal Election Guide.

Bekah Sears is the Policy Analyst and Government Relations Specialist for the MCC Canada Peace & Justice Office

To learn more about how you can get involved in peace and justice work and to stay informed, subscribe to our newsletter and visit our website here>.

Banner image caption: Damascus Gate, Old City Jerusalem. (MCC photo/Lynn Longenecker, 2018)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s