Our Atlantic Director Reflects on Nova Scotia Tragedy and Hope

Normally, as the end of April approaches, InterVarsity staff and students in Atlantic Canada, and across the country, come together for weeklong Scripture study camps.

Of course, these are not normal times. As we shift our plans to study with students remotely, we are deeply conscious that it is now under the dark shadow of the horrific loss of life from which we are still reeling here in Nova Scotia. This tragedy colours all our conversations.
Atlantic Canada is composed of close-knit communities and neighbourhoods. Our hearts break and our tears flow for those who lost one or more family members, friends or colleagues to this unspeakable violence. It is an affront to the peaceful way of life to which we are accustomed, and usually take for granted. The weight of this feels even heavier because in Atlantic Canada we are all like extended family members. I know that I, like many others, never lost my Nova Scotian identity, even when living in a far-away province or country. 
This traumatic loss has made an already difficult situation worse, adding stress to stress, and anxiety to anxiety. In small communities where doors are rarely locked, where trust is high, and where the beauty of God’s creation is always close at hand, we have witnessed the kind of hatred and killing to which we are, normally, strangers.
And yet there is hope and love. Neighbours, leaders, pastors, and musicians have crafted and shared beautiful words, music, and initiatives in an effort to express what we are all feeling and experiencing. The online vigil of Friday April 24 was like the community funeral we all need. Musician J.P. Cormier, a variety of pastors, and the Mayor of Truro, for example, painted profound pictures from the palette of Scripture, which God used powerfully to help and heal listeners, as together we joined our hearts and prayers with countless other mourners.
We take comfort from the kind words and actions of our neighbours local, national and global, especially in this time where getting together in person is not possible, no matter how much we ache to, nor how close we live to our hurting neighbours. Our instinct is to draw close and to offer comfort, and if we cannot do it in person, then we will do it remotely. 
On May 11, from our homes here in the Atlantic region, we will gather university students, InterVarsity alumni, staff and anyone else who is interested, for a series of online and personal Bible studies called MARKnet, where we’ll reflect on the accounts of Jesus’ life.
Please join me in praying that our conversations will bring God’s healing in this very difficult season. You are welcome to participate and to invite others; sign up for MARKnet here:
It is Jesus’ words we most need to hear in these days. And so, in the midst of chaos and loss, we turn to him, for as Peter said (in John 6:68), “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

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