Response to a sad day in Ottawa

November 5, 2014 | God at work in the World | Number 22
Willard Metzger | Mennonite Church Canada

Like many Canadians, I find myself in a place of sadness following the senseless violence in our capital city on Oct. 22, two days after a similar incident in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., south of Montreal.

I resonate with the voices that lament the sense of loss of our peaceful context. I share the anxiety of how this act of violence might result in our day-to-day affairs being weighed down with new forms of fear through heightened secu-rity measures.

I feel sad. I feel a loss.

I mourn that the life of another can be disregarded so easily, and an innocent father is gunned down.

I mourn that the rhetoric of revenge is seen as the best way to re-establish a sense of calm and confidence.

I mourn that religion has become so tainted that the loving Creator can be grossly misrepresented by acts of violence.

I mourn that our global family is divided by systems of defence and self-interest, rather than a common commitment of seeking the good for all.

I pray for mercy. I pray for healing. I pray for peace. I pray that the good in all of us may triumph over the tendency for evil in each of us.

I don’t want people to die having to defend me. I don’t want people to die trying to get the public’s attention. I don’t want people to die seeing each other as enemies. Surely, as a global family we can find new and better ways of working for the common good of the earth and all of its inhabitants.

I will mourn for awhile. My prayers will feel heavy for awhile. My heart will ache for awhile.

May the light of God’s love blind hatred and revenge, and give us all a vision for the dawn of a new day filled with the power of a love for all our neighbours.

This reflection was originally published on Willard Metzger’s blog, Church Guy.

A prayer in response to the events on Oct. 22 in Ottawa

Our God, we call you Light of the World, but today we feel the weight of night. We call you Wisdom, but today we have so many unanswered questions. We call you Prince of Peace, but today we feel surrounded by violence. We call on you in our fear, our disbelief, our sadness and our helplessness.

Hear our cries.
Hold us as we remember the sounds, images and experiences of Oct. 22. Hold the families of all those killed and injured in our capital city.
Hold families around the world who experience violence and instability.
Remind us to hold each other as we gather in our homes, schools and workplaces in the coming days.
May we seek your wisdom as we try to respond to the questions of our children, which echo our own question: Why do people kill each other?
We are people shaped by your story of peace. May our responses to the events in our capital city be formed and informed by this identity.
May we seek your light as we find our way through the dark.
In your mercy, Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.

Adapted from a prayer by Pastor Carmen Brubacher, Ottawa Mennonite Church.

—Posted Nov. 6, 2014

See also: Faith groups lament for the killed and wounded

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