Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
When most people think of Canada, images of snow, hockey, open prairies, and courteous people spring to mind. Even Canadians like to see ourselves as peace-loving, gentle and accommodating. Events last week cracked those stereotypes.
In Quebec, two members of Canada's Armed Forces were run down by a car in a parking lot by a "radicalized" follower of Islam. One of the soldiers died. Police killed the driver.
Then, two days later, a lone gunman in our nation's capital, Ottawa, shot and killed a uniformed reservist ceremonially standing guard at Canada's National War Memorial. The gunman then entered Canada's Parliament buildings, shooting and injuring a security officer. He was finally stopped by a bullet shot by Parliament's Sergeant-at-Arms, the final fusillade captured on video and seen by millions.
The reverberations, both literal and psychological, have echoed across the country. Canada, whose founding pillars are peace, order and good government, found itself coming to grips with extremist violence in the heart of its political process, Parliament Hill.
We all live with the hope this kind of thing will never happen in our country, in our community, or to ourselves. But the truth is that evil will show itself despite our most earnest hopes. That humankind is "basically good" is a common lie that makes the emergence of evil all the more difficult to accept.
In today's Scripture the apostle Peter, writing from experience, reminds us that Satan, the author of evil, is always on the prowl, and we need to be alert and watchful.
Even those closest to the Lord can give in to temptation. But we are not left to face the evil one alone or without preparation.
Following the Ottawa shootings news reports featured video of patrolling police officers watching out for each other, weapons at the ready, protected by bulletproof vests, searching for any additional shooters. Fortunately, they didn't find any.
Christ's followers face Satan and evil similarly prepared and supported. St. Paul in Ephesians 6 writes about believers being clothed with the whole armor of God "that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." That not only includes defensive protection, but also the weapon of God's Word, "the sword of the Spirit."
Our support team is fellow Christians with whom we worship and receive God's gifts and the "great cloud of witnesses" who have gone before us, leaving their example of perseverance and faith (see Hebrews 12:1).
In his reassuring address to Canadians on October 22, Prime Minister Stephan Harper, a Christian man, encouraged his fellow Canadians saying, "Together we will remain vigilant against those at home or abroad who wish to harm us."
As Christians, may we always be vigilant, watchful, prepared to confront evil wherever it emerges and in whatever form it takes whether in our lives or in the world around us. We do so with the assurance that on the cross and in His resurrection Christ defeated sin, death and the devil, and we live in Him eternally because of that victory.
THE PRAYER: Lord, by Your Holy Spirit, give us the strength and wisdom to stand on guard against the evil one, allowing Your light to shine through us into the darkness of this world. This we pray in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Contributor Biography: Dr. Ian Adnams is a Richmond, British Columbia-based communications consultant and member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Richmond. For 17 years (1994-2011) he served as the first director of Communications for Lutheran Church -- Canada, as editor of the award-winning The Canadian Lutheran magazine, and on the Int'l LLL Board of Governors as the Synod liaison. He currently serves as president of the Canadian Church Press and principal consultant with Adnams Group.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"