Summary: Christian submission to authority: 1) the command for submission, 2) the motive for submission, 3) the extent of submission, 4) the reason for submission, 5) the attitude of submission, and the 6) application of submission.
The Motto of the Dominion of Canada is from:
Ps 72:8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
And we sing this every time we sing our National Anthem when we say:
"God keep our land, Glorious and free".
For the majority of Canadians today, the calling of virtue is classified as "Victorian" like the name of the Queen that we remember this weekend.
This week, a Toronto lawyer, Charles Roach, who wants to become a Canadian citizen, but refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen, has won a key battle in his effort to change Canada’s citizenship law. He was Born a British subject in Trinidad, coming to Canada in 1955. His desire is to become a Canadian citizen. He is currently a permanent resident. He is seeking damages of $5,000 for people, such as himself, who have refused to swear the oath, and for others who have sworn it under duress.
Mr. Justice Edward Belobaba, an Ontario judge, ruled this week that there is a plausible argument that this requirement [to swear the oath] violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms." "There is nothing in the Constitution Act that requires a Canadian oath of citizenship or that a new citizen must swear allegiance to the Queen," The oath "is simply the consequence of an ordinary federal law that can be amended or repealed by the federal government, or as here, can be the subject of a constitutional challenge," he wrote. The ruling means it can proceed as a possible class action. (Story by Joseph Brean from National Post, Thursday May 18, 2007).
For the audience of 1 Peter, allegiance to the sovereign seemed absurd. Peter wrote his epistle in the last few years of Emperor Nero’s wicked rule. Nero came to power in 54 A.D. at the age of seventeen and committed suicide fourteen years later. During the reign of this emperor, Nero blamed the Christians for burning Rome, so he could make way for his civic redesign plan, he fed Christians to lions in the Coliseum for sport, and dipped them in pitch, impaled them on poles, and lit them ablaze to illuminate his garden parties. Peter himself met martyrdom at his hand, outside Rome.
How do you find your attitude to those in authority, in this case political office? Today, we are rife with distain for authority. From teachers to police officers, from politicians to pastors, we exist in a time of increasing cynicism, distain and mocking of anyone in authority. As a result teachers face death threats and assaults, we require more and more police to manage violence, politicians face open mocking and pastors are often just regarded as ultimate hypocrites. Isn’t it interesting that the distain flows downward. Children see parents mock and ridicule those in authority and then those same parents find that their children fail to listen to them.
In this passage, full of imperatives, six elements of Christian submission to authority emerge: 1) the command for submission, 2) the motive for submission, 3) the extent of submission, 4) the reason for submission, 5) the attitude of submission, and the 6) application of submission.