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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A Prayer For Toronto

A Prayer for Toronto 

Earlier this evening we were sitting in a diner in LA when we caught the newsflash of a mass shooting back home in Toronto. Fourteen people had been shot on the Danforth.  How could it be? Our first thought was of those we know and love – Was everyone okay? We thought too of the victims and their families and first responders as well as hospital staff by then in high gear caring for the victims. When I think of the police, firefighters, paramedics and medical personal in our city, I realize how blessed we are in Toronto.

But one can’t help think too of the escalation of violent crime in our city streets in recent months. This is not the city we know and love. I am certainly all for saving the lives of each and every victim, but imagine the important work put on hold by all of those involved in solving the crime and caring for the victims and of course the incredible suffering of victims and their families. And it is a pity that the hospitals have to surrender beds that would be reserved for people fighting diseases in order to mop up from warfare in the streets.

My mind also went back to a sermon I heard in church earlier in the day. The preacher reminded us that the early church’s conviction that the love of Jesus poured out on the cross was so great that no one in this world was or is beyond its transforming power. It was this conviction that turned their world upside down. I am sure there are many things we can all do to make our city a better place, but perhaps it all begins by returning to that conviction and offering our burdens for the city to God in prayer.

A prayer for our city

Gracious God you are the source of all that is good and right in this world. So shine your light into our city and chase the powers of darkness away. Confront one and all afresh with your love that all fear might be forgotten. We pray for those cradling weapons of hatred and violnce. Surround them with the better angels and guide their hearts in new directions. Strengthen all who care for the wounded and bind up the hearts of the bereaved with love. Guide the hands and minds of the attending medical staff and grant wisdom and strength to the police. Guide our elected politicians as they lead us through this time.

Make safe again our city streets. Remove the guns and erase the anger and fear. Grant that Toronto might be a place where peoples from all nations find hope and meaning in life and live together in peace with a growing appreciation of the blessings of our diversity and the strength of community. O God may peace prosper in Toronto.

With the hymn writer of old, Frank Mason North, we pray…
O Master, from the mountain side,
make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
among these restless throngs abide,
O tread the city’s streets again;

Till all the world shall learn thy love,
and follow where thy feet have trod;
till glorious from thy heaven above,
shall come the city of our God.
Amen.

Grace and Peace,
Peter