August 10, 2018
Our thoughts are with and hearts are broken for the families of four people, including two police officers, who lost their lives as a result of an early-morning shooting in Fredericton, NB.
A Prayer for Fredericton
by the Rev. Wendy MacWilliams, Minister at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church – Woodstock
Creating, Redeeming, and Sustaining God:
Early this morning, people woke up,
not to the sound of chirping birds,
but to the sound of gunshots and sirens.
Early this morning,
people checked their newsfeeds and turned on their radio,
not to witty posts or favourite tunes,
but to warnings to stay inside and avoid familiar streets.
people were not led through the still comfort of their daily routines…
like seniors walking the Brookside mall…
friends and workers getting their morning Tim’s…
people traveling to work,
looking forward to the fun of weekend activities.
But instead, people were shocked
to find their neighbourhood in lockdown.
two individuals on the northside
woke up to a new day of possibilities,
But, within a short moment,
had a lifetime of possibilities to come, viciously ended.
a perpetrator ran from the scene of evil he or she created.
But, courageous men and women ran towards such evil
to deliver us to safety.
Today, honourable men and women gave their lives
to protect and serve.
But for two of these good and faithful servants,
their first response became their last response.
Today, an individual woke up,
and for reasons we will never comprehend,
even when facts become available,
ended the lives of four individuals, wounded many others,
and inflicted great suffering
on those who loved and befriended them.
Lord God, you are our first responder.
In you, we shall lack nothing.
Your response… your actions… are our lifeline.
As we face the devastation
of today’s tragedy across the river,
We call on you to lead us beside still waters
and restore our souls.
Lead us in right paths, to a fullness of life once more.
we feel our safe community has seen and walked
through a dark valley.
But in the face of evil, we say #FrederictonStrong.
We will not fear evil.
You are with us.
You will comfort us and embrace us.
You will walk with us, hand in hand, in our suffering,
as we work through all our emotions and realities.
Goodness will prevail
even in the face of incomprehensible violence and loss.
On your cross, you suffered with us and gave your life
for the redemption of this world.
And so, in the presence of danger and suffering,
we call on your healing powers.
We call on you to touch the physical wounds those injured
– and the mental scars to come –
with words of healing now and day-by-day.
We call on you to deliver strength to our first responders.
We call on you to guide the hands
of the medical community working to healing those injured.
We call on you to guide those who provide
care to those who mourn.
We call on you to bless the police department with wisdom as they do their investigative work.
We call on you for justice,
as well as restoration of safety and peace
in this community.
In the darkness, we trust that your light will shine through.
The images of today’s violence
that cannot be erased from their memory
will be coloured by the beauty of your healing words.
Death will not have the final word.
Good will obliterate evil.
Love is stronger than hate.
Those who mourn will be comforted.
And you will anoint this community
so that it overflows with joy and grace upon grace.
Not only shall goodness and mercy follow us,
but we too will do our part to protect and nurture life.
We will move forward in the belief
that good will triumph over evil,
that hope, justice and peace can be achieved
even in the face of adversity.
Where there is life, there is hope.
And where there is hope, there is life.
Bless and bulletproof our spirits,
and especially those of first responders,
so that we can strengthen our community.