When A Shooting is Close to Home

After a week of meetings and a visit with friends, I turned on the computer Sunday night just before taking the red-eye from Vancouver back to Québec. To my horror, initial reports were being broadcast about the shootings in the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City—a 3 minute bike ride from our home. It was too late to call home, but just enough time to send out a quick Facebook post before boarding the plane.

My wife went to bed early, but later described a difficulty getting to sleep due to a growing sense of troubling thoughts. Still sick from a cold last week, she woke up and heard the news. 6 dead and 19 injured. When daylight came, it was with trepidation that she sent the children outside to meet the school bus. As the bus rolled away, she closed the door and turned the lock.

Living The Story: Brothers, Fathers & Community Members

This is no longer a news story for us. We, in a sense, are living the story. As the names of the dead are revealed, one is a professor at Université Laval, where we work. Another, the owner of a butcher shop that we have frequented. They are brothers, fathers, members of our community. Not to mention the others who are desperately clinging to life in the hospital as I write.

Another chilling detail is revealed: the shooter is a student at Université Laval. One of our former students writes that he was in the same program as him. How can one possibly conceive the idea that someone you cross paths with in the hallway every day could one day commit such an act?

Photo by Premier of Alberta

Please keep us and our city in your prayers.

It is encouraging to see an outpouring of grief and a display of solidarity by tens of thousands in Canada and around the world. It is encouraging to see the vigil in Québec City held on the grounds of the nearby Catholic church. It is encouraging to see another church making efforts to provide hot chocolate in the cold.

But there is much to do.

Here Are Our Prayer Requests

There have been repeated efforts to marginalize and ridicule outward expressions of faith in our society. Not just of Muslims, but of all expressions of faith. Pray that this issue will be once again brought to the forefront and that people will consider the results of these attitudes. Pray that Power to Change would have a role in bringing healing on the campus after these events.

Pray for ourselves, as our notions of safety have been shaken. Pray according to 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of self-control.”

Pray according to 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of self-control.”

A Spirit of power

Our God is not impotent. Rather, he is the creator and sustainer of all things. Death and sin have been conquered and await their final end. As followers of Christ, his Spirit dwells in us. We need not fear.

A Spirit of love

God loves us unconditionally and because of his love, every person is of great worth. May we continue to learn what it means to love sacrificially and unconditionally, as Christ demonstrated for us.

A Spirit of self-control

It is through continual obedience to God that we experience the renewing of our mind. Pray that the Spirit would reveal attitudes in our hearts that result in the devaluation of people, leading us to confess and repent of these attitudes. Pray that they would be replaced with a desire to engage with others, to understand, and to reveal the glory of God.

Pray that Power to Change would have a role in bringing healing on the campus after these events.

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