I write in the aftermath of the horrific act of violence in Quebec that took the lives of six worshippers in the Quebec City Mosque. The shock waves continue to reverberate across the country and we will stand with and pray for the victims of the shooting and for victims of hatred and violence everywhere.
As Canadians, we are affronted by the violence inflicted upon innocent victims in a place of worship. We are also deeply offended by this attack on the deep values which have shaped and defined this country.
As Christians, we uphold the right of all people to worship in safety and security and to practice their chosen faith. We continue to seek those places where people of faith meet as children of the one Creator.
Words matter and as we hear public expressions of outrage, and share in personal conversations of distress each of us is called to affirm our opposition to words which divide, words which promote intolerance, and words which give a foundation to acts of violence.
Words also require action. When a young man asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life (Luke 10) Jesus called forth familiar words from the Hebrew Scriptures "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself." Then the young man asked a critical question, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus then told the story of the good Samaritan who reached across religious and cultural barriers to care for the one in need. Our words and our prayers call for a personal commitment to demonstrate the best that faith can reveal.
I ask for prayers for the victims of the Quebec shooting and for peace with justice in all the churches of the Diocese this Sunday, and I ask for your personal commitment to resist all that undermines the values which faith requires.