the religious impulse of a nation

Canada is often described as a nonreligious nation. A commitment to organized religion plays a secondary role to personal fulfillment, hence the phrase "spiritual, not religious" used to define the spirituality of many Canadians. There is, however, one exception: Hockey.


And now with a paramount hockey gold medal showdown between Canada and the USA in the Vancouver Olympics, Canadians are gathering for perhaps their largest ever corporate worship event. John Van Sloten's excellent article, "Hallowed be thy game," describes this epoch in Canadian cultural history well. He states,

This Sunday a sacred ritual will play out.

And the faithful will gather from sea to sea to sea. Congregating on the edges of our couches, eyes glued to our sets, we'll get caught up in an ecstasy, lost in a glory. And for a few rapturous moments we'll experience what can only be described as heaven on earth.

While the minority of us Canadians who are religious in the traditional sense may feel an equation of hockey fanaticism to worship cheapens a description of our religious commitments, it does say one profound thing about our culture: a religious impulse in Canada is a alive and well. And after I worship our Creator God with my church Sunday morning, I'll admit, I'll be right there with the rest of Canada, joining in the unifying devotion of a nation. I can't wait!

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