A First Prayer (Perhaps of Many) for Christchurch and Quebec

Rev. Diane Rollert, 17 March, 2019

The pain hits us
as blinding as the white light
reflecting off the remaining snow. 

Blood spreads across carpets
that we try not to imagine.

 We have seen this tragedy
in our own nation,
in our own province. 

A massacre happens 15,000 miles from here,
shaking us and shocking us,
but in a few hours drive
we can see the shoes
of the men who were shot and killed—
their shoes
still carefully lined up in the entryway
of the Islamic centre,
a memorial to their lives
and their faith. 

Scream, cry, get angry,
that their deaths and their families’ pain and heartache
became inspiration for more carnage. 

We have seen this hatred
in our own city,
on these lands
that were taken
and claimed as our own.

History teaches
what happens
when we believe we have the answers,
when we see other humans
as less than human,
when we believe our way
can be the only way. 

I’m not praying for our contrition
I’m not asking us to take on the sins of the world,
but I am asking us to listen
to the wisdom of the voices
that cry out to us
to be better allies. 

I’m asking us
to be stronger
in our rejection of hatred,
to be less complacent in our lives,
to seize this moment
to say no,
to seize this moment,
to seek reconciliation,
to hear the songs
that were whispered in our ears at birth —
the beautiful songs
that can still be sung in harmony.

These are the songs that remind us
we were born for peace,
we were born to love this earth,
we were born to love each other,
we were born to begin again,
to courageously lift our voices
and carry on all that remains to be done.