Peter’s Blog

Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

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Monthly Archives: April 2018

A Prayer for Healing and Peace in the City

Gracious and merciful God, this week’s events have reminded us all that we know not what a day may bring.  We commit to your care the souls of those whose lives were taken so suddenly in a terrible act of violence. We pray too for those who now grieve the loss of their loved one’s voice and touch. May they sense your love in the midst of such hatred and come to find that peace which passes all understanding.
We pray for those who were injured in the attack and those who stand at their side and fight with them for recovery. The wounds to the body are real but those to the spirit are deep and vast and the wounded, the bereaved, the first responders and care givers, and indeed our whole city is in need your tender mercies. Speak into horror and the tears that follow and bring peace.
Speak into the souls of all who would entertain evil and hatred and silence the violence with your love. And enable us we pray to live with eyes wide open to the wonders and blessings of each day and lead us on to that great day when suffering and sorrow will be no more, and love and grace will rule in our hearts, and peace and justice will reign in our city streets.  These things we pray through Christ our Lord, Amen.

This prayer was written in the days following a horrific violent attack on Toronto’s Yonge Street in which ten pedestrians were killed and fourteen were wounded.  

 

Walk and Pray

Stop and say a prayer
For Yonge and Everywhere;
For those now in despair,
and all who offer care.

Let us pray for victims and their families, giving them to God as loved ones begin to process such shocking and unbearable loss and suffering. Let us pray for those who fight to recover from injuries sustained and for loved ones who fight with them.  Let us give thanks for our first responders, but also pray that they will be renewed as they process the horror they were called into today. Let us also give thanks for our wonderful medical personal and centres, but pray they will have strength and wisdom in these critical hours. And let us pray for our city that this evil deed will not blind us to the blessings of this place where so many people live and grow in peace.

Yonge Street, where east and west meet in our city, symbolizes the multi-ethnic nature of this metropolis, where people have come from near and far to live in peace. An attack on any other street would have hit us all just as hard, but Yonge Street is our main artery. Today this place of peace was attacked and it cut us all to the heart. Now we grieve and pray for the victims and their families, but tomorrow, grief still in hand, we must take back the street. Yonge Street is one of the greatest pedestrian streets in this country. We mustn’t let anyone take that away. So let’s not just pray. Let’s walk and pray!

Grace & Peace,

Peter

Sticks Out for Humboldt

This week we have all been citizens of Humboldt, Saskatchewan.  Though none of us can even begin to imagine the loss this community has suffered, we are united with them in their grief and it goes beyond hockey. Hockey is undeniably part of the fabric of our nation. The tragic death of fifteen young Canadians would have broken the heart of our nation no matter what the youth were in the midst of doing, but the fact they were playing hockey cut to the heart of every parent who has laced up their child’s skates, risen early in the morning to get them to a house league game, or stayed up late to flood the back yard to build a rink. It has touched every grandparent who has been called on at the last minute to drive their grandchild to an unscheduled practice or game, and every driver who has stopped with delight while the children playing road hockey moved the nets to let their car through. As we have listened to the names and heard their stories, these boys have been with us at the dinner table and in line at the coffee shop. They have entered our homes and our hearts. Their parents have become our neighbours and friends and we have wanted only to help.

Apart from the wonderful response of people across this country giving generously and praying faithfully for the victims and their families and the community involved, there has also been understanding voiced for those who were part of the confusion that led to the misidentification of a victim, and there have even been expressions of grace towards the errant driver. It is not just hockey or winter that makes us great as a nation. Above all, it is love for our neighbour. Ever since Humboldt took the meanest of hits there has been an outpouring of nothing but goodness, kindness, compassion, sympathy, and faith. As we continue to grieve and offer gifts and prayers for Humboldt, let us be mindful of what a great gift each day is and remain true to that which makes us truly great – love and kindness.