Prayers for Christchurch, New Zealand

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Bishop Victoria Matthews writes in the Anglican Taonga asking for prayers as Christchurch, New Zealand suffered another major earthquake today, almost one year after a similar temblor struck the city.

I feel a bit guilty asking for prayer yet again. Or maybe even greedy. So I ask you to bear with me as I explain our need.

In the early part of this afternoon, shoppers here in Christchurch were thronging the malls.

We know what happened at 1:58pm – and again and again during the afternoon.

Those malls, of course, were evacuated.

And tonight, as I drove through the city and especially through the suburbs, there was hardly a car or pedestrian in sight.

It was as though people were hiding. When the whole world begins to tilt and roll, they’re frightened to be caught again in a crowd.

So I ask your prayers for the people of greater Christchurch.

I ask your prayers for courage and good humour and incredible resilience.

I fear the rise of anger, too. It’s hard to get angry at an earthquake – so the tendency is to turn on others. And what’s doubly sad is that many already experience Christmas as a stressful time.

Oh, and one more thing.

For the most part, we will be worshipping outdoors this Christmas, ‘where sheep may safely graze’.

The late night services will be ‘BYOT’ events – Bring Your Own Torch – because candles and earthquakes don’t go together, either.

Would you, in your mercy, pray for those who are frightened?

And pray that they will dare to venture out and that the Christmas services will be havens of praise and wonder at the birth of the new born King?

And that we may all return safely home again as well?

Thank you, and we pray for you who have been at our side every step of the way.

Thank you and God bless you this Christmas.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

God is for us a refuge and strength,

a helper close at hand, in time of distress,

so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,

though the mountains fall nto the depths of the sea;

even though its waters rage and foam,

even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.

The Lord of power and might is with us:

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Psalm 46:1-3

Heavenly Father,

have mercy on the people of Christchurch:

allay their worries and fears,

open their hearts and hands to each other in this hour of need,

give them strength to persevere

and help them to trust in your love,

which you have shown in your incarnate Son,

Christ Jesus our Lord and brother,

alive and at work among us in your Spirit --

one God now and forever.

Amen.

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