A Prayer for Toronto

It has been barely 24 hours since the awful events in Toronto that has left ten dead and fifteen injured. This senseless attack seems even more so, in that there is no political motivation behind it. For weeks and years to come, we will be asking why a 25-year old rented a van and randomly ran down pedestrians on a busy Toronto street.

I’m not here to try to explain it away or to dismiss his actions. We will learn more over the coming weeks and months. Even what we learn may tempt us to place this event in some box so that we don’t have to confront the reality and horror of what happened. It is my prayer that we don’t dismiss it, that we genuinely try to learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again.

At this time, I remember the words of children’s TV personality and Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, who reminded to look for the people that help in times of trouble. For those that jumped in to help the wounded, for the coolness of a police officer who remained calm and took the suspect into custody without firing a shot.

Earlier today, this prayer appeared on the United Church of Canada’s Facebook page. I leave it with you as we continue to remember those impacted by yesterday’s events:

A prayer for Toronto:

Teach us God, how to be faithful during this time of fear and anxiety.

And provide those most affected by this act of violence the abiding comfort and peace that we cannot.

We yearn for and seek your commonwealth of peace and justice as a nation:

Make clear to us how to faithfully respond in a way that:

Loves what you love and
Acts as you have taught us.

Give us the strength and wisdom
to choose compassion;
to choose hope;
to choose love;
and to choose peace;

In times when it is so easy
to choose apathy;
to choose fear,
to choose hatred,
and isolate ourselves.

From the depths of our hearts we pray to you God.

We are not alone.