The United Church of Canada Moderator Richard Bott offers a reflection & prayer for "families around the world - many in Iran and many in Canada who are grieving the deaths of the passengers of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752."

When hostilities and violence take place, it is often the innocent who are its victims.

Today, I join with families around the world – many in Iran and many in Canada – who are grieving the deaths of the passengers of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, that crashed outside of Tehran – children and adults, people who loved and people who always will be loved. Over the past twenty-four hours, we have heard just a few of the stories of the lives of those who died – students and teachers, parents, newlyweds, people of all walks of life. Our hearts break for the families and friends who were expecting their loved ones to step off the plane, and into the rest of their lives.

Rather than letting the deaths of these people be a spark that inflames, let it be the terrible shock that it is, to pull us back from further violence. Let us reach out to our neighbours, of every nation, of every worldview and faith, to find peaceful ways to respond to what has happened.

For those of us who come from a worldview that includes a relationship with the divine, I hope that we would undergird our actions with our prayers.

To that end, I offer these words…

We pray for wisdom, God;we pray for wisdom and we pray for peace.

We pray for the families who are grieving, today,we pray for the friends,we pray for all who are broken by the deaths of their beloveds,killed by a missile, aimed at their plane. We pray for their empty arms and their torn hearts,and we pray that they would be held safe as they grieve –not only by you, but by their neighbours and friends,wherever we may live.

We pray for wisdom, God;we pray for wisdom and we pray for peace.

We pray for those who are making decisions – the leaders of the world – Prime Minister, President or Rahbar-e mo’azzam – that your wisdom would shine through them, that your peace would overtake them, that your love might help them to find a wayto care for the grieving, and to not add to that grief.

We pray for wisdom God;we pray for wisdom and we pray for peace.

I ask these things in Jesus’ name –may they be so.