I don’t have words for the heartbreak of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. I just don’t even have words. This is one of those moments in which I’m deeply grateful to friends and colleagues within the wider church. Everything I’m sharing today has come from others within our denomination.

Like this prayer, from Peter Bush – a former Moderator of the General Assembly and current minister at St. Andrew’s, Fergus, ON:

We come to you, Triune God of grace, with hearts full of grief. We are in mourning over the things that took place in Nova Scotia this past weekend, and over the loss of more than 17 lives. Our minds reel, our hearts grieve.

God of all comfort,

We pray for your comfort to come to the people of Nova Scotia in their time of tragic mourning. We pray for the communities of Portapique and Debert, and other communities where violence and death has taken place. We remember before you those who have lost loved ones, friends, neighbours, teachers, colleagues in this tragedy.

God, your Son experienced the brutality of violence,

We pray for all those who experienced themselves or witnessed the impact of this violence. For those injured in these events. For police and fire fighters, for neighbours and those along the route of violence, for others who were involved. We pray that they would know there is one who walks with them through this and who will hold them in his arms of love, your Son Jesus Christ.

God, the Holy Spirit comes to bring healing and hope,

We pray that even in these early days the healing balm of the Spirit’s presence would be at work. Protect those who have been impacted from deep scars emotionally or psychologically. In this time of social distancing may they find the care and compassion they need. As the questions of why come to the fore, may the Spirit’s healing be sufficient when no satisfying answers can be given.

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

Published by Peter Bush on the Presbyterian Church in Canada group on Facebook

And this link to a news report on the flight path of a pilot in N.S. who wanted to ‘hug the community’ and so flew over Portapique in the shape of a heart, which was posted by my friend Lindsay Murray, who lives in Sackville, New Brunswick (and whose husband, the Rev. Jeff Murray, is the minister of St. Andrew’s, Sackville).

And this link to a message from our current Moderator, the Rev. Amanda Currie.

And, finally, this scripture, which comforts me in difficult and troubling times:

Please keep the people of Nova Scotia in your prayers. I am sure there will be more heart breaking details coming out of that province as the investigation continues.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, know that God is close, even as our hearts break.