The soldier killed was based in my city.
Someone in my Twitter feed dared to "thank God" that more weren't killed, and was immediately lambasted.
How DARE they thank "God"?
They should thank the MAN who stopped the gunman, not "God".
And the gunman probably ACTED in the name of their "God".
And if "God" was to be thanked, it should only be if NO ONE AT ALL had been killed yesterday.
(I found myself doubting that that particular tweet-er "thanked God" on the days that no one was killed.)
"God" isn't real anyway, and anyone of substance would NEVER utter such a thing.
It was as if they had uttered some hateful, deeply offensive slur, simply by saying "thank God".
Later I had a conversation around the oh-so-commonly-referenced myth of "all-wars-are-caused-by-religion".
No. They aren't.
Not even close.
My country. I am so thankful to have been born in this nation, so glorious and free. We aren't perfect. But "Canadian" is a moniker I bear with a great deal of pride.
My city. I am so grateful to be a north-ender, a city pastor, a proud Hamiltonian. We aren't perfect. But we love our city. We defend it passionately to those who wrinkle their noses and say, "Hamilton? Really?" Yes, really. It's gritty and honest and strong and beautiful.
My God. I am deeply, profoundly grateful to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. We aren't perfect. But my faith teaches me that God cares and is involved in the world.
(Some believe that if that were true, God would stop all evil - or what is defined by them as "evil" - thus overriding the free will of specific people who are, by extension, defined by them as "evil".
You might conclude, as I do, that this belief becomes untenable fairly quickly.)
My faith also teaches me that I, with all my imperfections, carry God's presence in the part of the world I am in. I am responsible to represent Jesus well. Jesus' life demonstrated care for the poor, the sick, the oppressed. He honoured women, shouted against religious hypocrisy and recognized even our enemies as humans, broken indeed. He believed justice doesn't have to include hatred, even while it is being exercised.
That happened yesterday.
And as a terribly proud and passionate Canadian, Hamiltonian, and Christian - I wholeheartedly thank God that what was a dark day was not much, much darker; and at the same time, I wholeheartedly utter the prayer embedded in our national anthem.
God keep our land.