By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Monday, April 18, 2016

Know that the Lord is God

This is the command we heard as Psalm 100 was proclaimed on Sunday. Know that the Lord is God. The timing is providential. This past week saw the tabling by Canada's federal government of legislation to make legal in some cases assisted suicide and euthanasia. Known as Bill C-14, it bears the title: "An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and to Make Related Amendments to other Acts (medical assistance I dying)." A subtitle could be: Forget that the Lord is God.

Strange. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with this statement: "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law..." Yet the legal permission granted to assisted suicide and euthanasia is founded upon arguments that substitute the supremacy of God with that of the individual. We have moved from Know to Forget. The consequences are tragic.

When the Psalmist says "Know that the Lord is God," the call is not directed only to our intellect but to our whole lived experience. It means so fully to appropriate the truth of God's supremacy that it shapes the entirety of our lives. God is God; we are not. As the Psalm continues: God made us (we did not make ourselves); we are His people (we are not our own). Within such "knowing" that the Lord is God, there is obviously no space for the assertion of any right to take our own lives (suicide), to assist another person to take his or her own life (assisted suicide), or to kill another person (euthanasia). From this it follows that justification for these practices is premised on a denial of the supremacy of God, and this is a false premise.

Yet this is exactly what we see playing out in our beloved country right now. It is not difficult to detect a present echo of the ancient deception by the serpent, who seduced Adam and Eve into allowing their trust in God's love, wisdom and providence to die and thus into asserting themselves over against God.

The Psalmist continues: "For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." In the light of revelation brought to the world by Jesus Christ, St. John takes the assertion of God's love and goodness further: "God is love." (1John 4:8). Acknowledging the supremacy of God is no cause for fear. On the contrary, it is surrender of our lives into the hands of our Creator, who, in Jesus Christ, has manifested His tender mercy and loving desire to provide for our every need.

The Lord is, indeed, God. Let us know this fully, and never forget it.