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  • Added March 13th, 2011
  • Filed under 'Prayers'
  • Viewed 2892 times

A Christchurch prayer

By Greg Hughson in Prayers

The University Chaplain has used this prayer with grieving students following the earthquake

A Christchurch prayer

The earthquake which struck Christchurch on 22 February has deeply affected us all. I was involved with University Orientation week on campus at the time the quake hit. Many students, especially those from Christchurch found it very difficult to enjoy their first week at University and many are still struggling to focus on their studies. Some students I met from Christchurch on the afternoon of the quake forced themselves to attend the toga party that night in an attempt to cheer themselves up. Going out to a party was not possible however for those who were anxiously awaiting news of loved ones. Some are still waiting to hear news. One Otago student is still unaccounted for. Another student, Sisi is now known to have died. Her funeral is being held this morning (Sunday 13th) in Christchurch.

Since the quake I have used the prayer below from the Christchurch Anglican cathedral website homepage , in my own prayers, praying with others and in leading worship. I have found this prayer to be very helpful in giving expression to my, and our feelings of vulnerability and fragility at this historic time where grief is permeating our whole society. We are now in the season of Lent. This is a time of sacrifice. How much are we prepared to give of our time and money to help alleviate the distress and grief of our neighbours ?

-- Greg Hughson, University Chaplain

A prayer from http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/

Lord, at times such as this, when we realise that the ground beneath our feet is not as solid as we had imagined, we plead for your mercy. As the things we have built crumble about us, we know too well how small we truly are on this ever-changing, ever-moving, fragile planet we call home. Yet you have promised never to forget us. Do not forget us now. Today, so many people are afraid. They still wait in fear of the next tremor. They remember the cries of the injured amid the rubble. They roam the streets in shock at what they see. And they fill the dusty air with cries of grief and the names of missing dead.

Comfort them, Lord, in this disaster. Be their rock when the earth refuses to stand still, and shelter them under your wings when homes no longer exist. Embrace in your arms those who died so suddenly this week. Console the hearts of those who mourn, and ease the pain of bodies on the brink of death.

Pierce, too, our hearts with compassion, we who watch from afar, find only misery upon misery. Move us to act swiftly this day, to give generously every day, to work for justice always, to pray unceasingly for those without hope. And once the shaking has ceased, the images of destruction have stopped filling the news, and our thoughts return to life's daily rumblings, let us not forget that we are all your children and they, our brothers and sisters. We are all the work of your hands.

For though the mountains leave their place and the hills be tossed to the ground, your love shall never leave us, and your promise of peace will never be shaken.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever. Amen.

First printed as a Connections article in the Parish Weekly Bulletin, March 13, 2011.