So often it is somewhere else – New York, Boston, Paris, London, Brussels, Frankfurt, Jerusalem, Yemen… Yesterday it happened here at home. An attack at mid-day in North York – an attack that can only be described as an act of terrorism – left ten people dead and many others with very serious injuries.
As people of faith our first response is to uphold all those affected by this tragedy in prayer, those who died and their grieving families, the injured and their families who keep vigil at their bedsides and their medical teams, the leaders of faith communities and all who provide support through accompaniment and counsel.
Throughout the city many churches are organizing vigils and keeping their doors open for all who in the aftermath of yesterday’s attack are seeking a few moments of quiet and solace in the presence of God. Hundreds of candles will be lit and left burning as a sign of our continuing prayers for all whose lives have been hurled into chaos through this tragedy.
As Toronto weeps, we know so many others weep with us. As we turn to God for consolation, we know so many others turn with us and we are grateful.
To that day when violence shall no longer be heard and seen in our streets we look with hope; and for its coming let us pledge our best efforts so that the safety of all people, the freedom of our neighbourhoods, the peace of our cities can be secured.
For all whose life’s work is to “serve and protect” we give thanks for their commitment and courage. For all who inspire us in the labors of laying the foundations of that city whose architect and builder is God we also give thanks.
God our companion,
You inhabit the silence of meaningless pain
You breathe our wordless lament
You swallow the bitterness of our shock
Stay with us, Lord, and pray
God our heartbeat through day and night,
You give us the imagination of hope,
The grammar of love,
And the courage of calm
Stay with us Lord, and heal
God our fearlessness
In your image you have made us whole,
To wait with the suffering
And to tend the wounded
To break cycles of abuse and violence
With the boldness of compassion
Stay with us, Lord, and hope
For yours is the power and the glory,
Before, within, and after our grief
Now and forever. Amen.
Ten people died and more than a dozen remain hospitalized after yesterday’s attack. The driver of the van has been arrested and charged with several counts of murder and attempted murder.
Featured image: An impromptu memorial is started for victims of yesterday’ atrocity. By Quentin9909, [CC BY-SA 4.0],via Wikimedia Commons