A Lament for Yonge Street

A Lament for Yonge Street  

Silent weeping
Hands clasping
Hearts racing…

Knees bent in service to comfort the wounded
Knees bent in prayer to summon peace

Sitting on my couch,
the news is on,
a curtain torn in the temple of my heart
admitting the world’s pain.

Death has its own schedule
A withered hand reaching in to steal away life

But you,
you are the giver of life

Therefore, we lift up to you those who have died on this day when violence erupted.
There is no making sense of their death, there is no justice available in this moment.

Yet may those who love them be comforted.

There will be no raising today as for the sons of the widows of Zarephath and of Nain. Yet we are a people who know about Death. All our hope rests in Christ, the first fruits of the Resurrection.

We lift up to you those whose lives have been disrupted, shattered, with broken bodies and bruised minds. Life will not be the same yet may they, like Jacob, find new life even as they limp forevermore.

We lift up to you those who were there first. The passersby, the lunch mates untouched, the strangers standing nearby who first witnessed the horror. We lift up to you EMS personnel, the vanguard of those rebuilding lives. We lift up to you fire crews and others who secured the area. Finally, we lift up to you the police, 32 Division who responded first among many; we honour the officer who disarmed the attacker with the power of words and conviction. May they all be healed of their own wounds from today. As the years go by and images flood back, may all who need help seek it, may all who seek it receive it, and may all who receive it be made whole.

Finally, we pray for the man. The man beyond comprehension yet one we know too well. The man who drove the truck and took those lives. May your Holy Spirit convict him so that he may repent, and in so turning to you find new life.

Lord, may everything we do be pleasing to you.

~The Rev. Matthew Sams, Willowdale Presbyterian Church, Toronto

Remembering… Our hearts and prayers are with the Humboldt Broncos, their families and friends

A prayer from our Moderator , Reverend Peter Bush


I am waking up to the tragic news out of Saskatchewan about the accident that took the lives of 14 people on the Humboldt Broncos (Junior Hockey team) bus and injured 14 others. So this is raw and quick.

God your Son wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus, we weep over the Humboldt Broncos team members and coaching staff who died in the bus accident yesterday. 
We lift up before you family and friends, the community of Humboldt, the other teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, be the God who sees and hears their cries of sorrow and loss. We lift up before you first responders, doctors, nurses, others who were at the scene or are providing care to the survivors, be the God who guides hands and calms minds in the midst of crisis. We pray for those who were injured that they would be healed of their injuries both physical and psychological, be the God of healing and hope. God, we do not have words to adequately express the ache in our hearts.
These things we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reverend Peter Bush                                                                                                                  Sunday, April 8th


Moderator responds to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and Nairobi, Kenya

Our hearts have been broken yet again by the violence and the incitement to violence we have
witnessed in the world over the weekend. In Charlottesville, where white supremacists clashed
with anti-racist protesters with deadly consequences. In Nairobi, where violence between the Luo and the Kikuyu has produced equally deadly consequences.

At the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1, we are taught that all human beings are made in the
image of God. At the end of the Bible in the book of Revelation, human beings “from every
nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,” gather together to bring glory and honour to God who sits on the throne and to Jesus Christ. Between these bookends telling us that human beings of every ethnicity and culture are made in the image of God, James 3:9,10 reminds us we cannot both praise God and curse our fellow human beings who are made in the image of God. We pray for a world where all human beings recognize their fellow human beings as being made in the image of God.

God who made all humans in your image, we come to you with broken hearts.

We live in a world where human beings curse and disrespect other human beings on the basis of the other’s skin colour. We live in a world where human beings attack and commit violence
against other human beings on the basis of the other’s ethnicity.

We weep over the loss of life that has occurred. We pray for those who have lost loved ones.
Bring comfort.

We pray for those who feel fear because of the violence. Bring the peace which passes all

We pray for those who have learned the violence is the way to deal with racial and ethnic
difference. Bring a change of heart by your Holy Spirit.

We celebrate the courage of those who speak and act for peace and reconciliation between
ethnicities and races. For as your Son, Jesus, declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they
will be called the children of God.”

God of grace, your Son Jesus Christ took into himself the hate and violence of the world, through the work of the cross we pray all human beings will come to recognize their fellow human beings as being made in your image.

We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

From the website of the Presbyterian Church in Canada

Moderator calls for prayer

As the fires rage in British Columbia, the moderator, the Rev. Peter Bush, invites the people of The Presbyterian Church in Canada to pray.

God of mercy,

We pray for the people of the British Columbia interior impacted by these fires—Williams Lake, Cache Creek, Ashcroft Indian Reserve, 100 Mile House—and other places impacted but whose names we do not know.

In mercy, look down upon those who have lost property, we cannot imagine what it is to lose everything in a fire.

In mercy, look down upon those who have left everything behind and do not know if they will have anything to return to, we cannot imagine what that feels like.

In mercy, look down upon those who are driving out through smoke and danger.

We pray for firefighters—we are astounded by their courage, their skill, and their stamina. Keep them safe in extraordinarily dangerous situations. Be with their family and friends, who support them and worry about them.

We pray government officials and emergency planners that they would have wisdom, patience, and calm while all around them there is chaos and uncertainty.

We thank you for communities like Prince George and Kamloops and others that are welcoming evacuees from the fire, give the leaders and citizens of these communities caring hearts, welcoming smiles, and good spirits to show hospitality to the thousands who are arriving on their doorsteps.

God of the weather, we ask for rain with no lightning and cooler weather with no wind.

We bring before you all those connected with the Presbyterian Church’s Cariboo Ministry who are impacted by this fire, and all those Presbyterians who may have the opportunity to show hospitality—let them know that they are loved and prayed for by your church.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

—The Rev. Peter Bush, Moderator of the 143rd General Assembly

For updates from Rev. Shannon Bell-Wyminga (Cariboo Region), visit presbyterian.ca.

As wildfires remain active in British Columbia, please pray for affected communities and first responders. Donations may be made to PWS&D in support of physical and emotional recovery for those impacted by the fires. Mail a cheque to the office, give through your church, donate online, or call 1-800-619-7301. Please mark donations for “BC Fires.” Learn more at WeRespond.ca/bc-wildfires.