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A Prayer for our Firefighters

A six alarm fire destroyed a wonderful old club down the road from the church on Tuesday.  The fire raged from mid morning through the night and even two days later there are apparently hotspots still being watched.  They say it was one of Toronto's biggest fires in recent memory and I believe it.  

Throughout the day on Tuesday both Yonge and St. Clair were closed for blocks going in all directions as close to forty fire trucks and a hundred and fifty firefighters fought the blaze.  Ladders were raised high above some of the trucks to bring the water down from above while many of the trucks were stretched out down the street about a hose length apart to bring water from more distant fire hydrants.  On the south side hoses came up through the staircases, down condo corridors and eventually out to the balconies where firefighters pointed them straight down into the flames.  Apart from the wonderful courage of the firefighters the scene was an incredible lesson in team work.  

At the end of the day no lives were lost.  However, the Badminton and Raquet Club, which was probably one of the only buildings in the Yonge and St. Clair community to pre-date Yorkminster Park, has been completely destroyed.  I never belonged to the club, but I have fond memories of sharing lunches and dinners in the company of friends and even the occasional wedding or funeral reception.  It was a warm and inviting space and while we all hope it comes back, the community lost a special building on Tuesday. 

However, today there is reason to step back and take a deep breath and give thanks.  I offer this prayer for our firefighters.   

Gracious and eternal God, after the earthquake, wind and fire, you speak to us in a still small voice of calm.  We thank you that even in the face of a wind fed fire you brought calm to the hearts and minds of those who risked their lives to fight the flames at Yonge and St. Clair this week.  We thank you that at the end of the day all were safe and accounted for and no lives were lost.  We thank you for the courage and expertise of those who have heeded the call of public service to protect us all from raging infernos.  We thank you too that the fire did not spread as it might have and so we pray for your continued protection on our city's firefighters and save us all from the flames that burn.  Suddenly we have been sobered by how quickly a fire can spread, damage and destroy.  Grant us all wisdom in the living of our days for we know not what a day may bring.  But You O God promise to be with us always.  Come what may, help us all to trust in you.  Amen.  


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Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

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