The Bishop’s Prayer for Dismantling Racism


Our hearts break for the victims of the June 6, 2021 murderous attack upon Yuma Afzaal, Mariah Salman, Salman Afzaal and Talut Afzaal in London, Ontario. The youngest member of the family, Fayez, remains in serious condition. The world is not supposed to be this way, we are meant to have our being in God’s gracious abundant life.

Only one week before the London terrorism, we woke to hear the devastating reminder that Canada has yet to complete our task in telling the truth regarding not only Indian Residential Schools but our intentions as euro-centric colonizers.

As 215 children were discovered, we may have thought, “How can this have happened?” Unfortunately, that is not a question you and I can answer from this vantage point in history. However, we can answer, and are obligated to answer the following, “How can I dismantle the systemic racism and violent hatred toward indigenous people, that which was started long ago, but is perpetuated to this very day?” This is the world Jesus came to challenge, this is the world that killed him, the world is not supposed to be this way.

Systemic racism, violent targeted racism, and the breeding of hatred toward anyone different from one’s self are not of God’s love nor will. With the entire human family, we are called to be present in prayer and action to oppose the forces of evil, challenge unjust structures, and with our entire beings live with deep care for those who are vulnerable and oppressed. We shall not allow fear to render us complacent, for we trust God who commands all to love neighbour as self; and to love kindness, do justice, and live humbly.

Please join me in prayer.

God, creator and protector of all,
use us to gently love, heal and nurture Fayez Afzaal
and the families and nations of the 215 beautiful lives,
may your spirit begin to repair the damage left by terror,
deep sorrow, and the betrayal in the human family.

Touch us with your rage, as a hot coal might touch our lips,
so that we might act upon your truth and justice,
with strong conviction, unmuted voices
and deep compassion for the family you have made for yourself.

We have grieved your soul, O God, by our inactivity and careless behaviour,
forgive our sins of complacency and ignorance;
help us to remain vulnerable for and to our neighbour,
teaching us to respect the dignity of every person
and find you waiting there to greet us.

We ask this in the name of Christ,
who holds us to the truth. Amen.

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