Some of the sweetest moments of solace I’ve known have been on the pier in Halifax. Some of the humblest heroes I’ve known as friends and role models are bluenosers. At the calmest of times, no less now, my heart feels tender for the good, good people of Nova Scotia.

If I were among my friends in Nova Scotia today, what would I say?

In years past, in the very least I would have made promise of my thoughts and prayers, and I would have meant it. Thoughts of an unthinkable grief and prayers for an unimaginable comfort, ever true.

But now – sigh – offers of “thoughts and prayers” are most-often equated with having nothing of worth to offer, or an unwillingness to work for real change. And I understand.

Interestingly, I sense the notion of “thoughts” is not as big a bother as the “prayers.” Religious platitudes tossed out on social media are bitter pills to swallow at anytime, and sheer insult in times of tragedy.

As a person of faith, even offering up the perfect prayer – “The Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus’ own words – can feel like playing fast and loose with the broken-hearted.  Far too often The Lord’s Prayer is easy to spout out, a sort of religious ho-hum many Canadians either tolerate or auto-pilot through.

Could I recite the Lord’s Prayer today for dear New Scotlanders and not stop short at “deliver us from evil” and think “too late”?

Years ago, for one of my books, I did a very personal deep dive into making sense of The Lord’s Prayer, line by weighty line. Not a theological roll about or a scholastic expedition – but an exploration meant to discern how – or if – I can pray the words authentically.

Grappling with “Deliver us from evil,” I wrote:

My plea to God everyday of my life for those I love, for those I don’t know, for those who suffer, for those who prosper, for those who lead, for those who follow, for me, myself and I, is always the same! The kickback to “thy kingdom come,” the outcome of absolute deliverance and overflow – the ultimate dream come true:


“Deliver us from evil,” as I receive it:

“May your peace abound.”

And so, my dear sisters and brothers of the Atlantic…

When the new morning sun draws a long lighthouse shadow inland at Peggy’s Cove…

When the cascading stretches of the Cabot Trail cause you to breathe deeply, cry, laugh and cry again…

When the voices of the Mi’kmaq people echo with centuries of beauty, courage and mourning…

And when one golden moon shines on Glenholme, Debert. Brookfield, Shubenacadie, Milford, Truro, Halifax, Dartmouth and Portapique all at once…

Know this prayer for you from countless Canadians is ever true, the very heartbeat of “thy kingdom come:”

For your communities.

For your homes.

For your minds.

For your hearts.

For your souls.