The Lutheran Church in Great Britain has posted the Church of Norway prayer for yesterday’s tragedy:
Eternal God, we come to you with our fear and great unrest. We are struck, God, by violence and terror. We have known the great joy of an open and safe society. Now we are experiencing devastating bomb attacks and people being shot. Many people are killed and many injured. God, how can such things be? It is so unbelievably bad that society and innocent people are affected by blind violence. God, look to all who are in grief over having lost their own. Look at all those wounded and those with intrusive memories of what has now happened. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
Jesus Christ, you are always close to us in our suffering; look to all the young people who were on Utøya. Be near to all relatives and injured. See us, God, when we cry over anyone who is affected.
Give us strength to face each other with comfort and closeness. Help us to walk together through all this evil across both religious and political divides. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
God, give strength and perseverance to all who work with the wounded and survivors. Thank you for the solidarity and willingness to be there for each other. Help all believers to show love and kindness and give courage to work against hatred and terror. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
God, you created us to manage life and community. Help us build a society where pleasure and safety are secure. We pray for our king and his house. We pray for our government and all those in the community. Give strength and comfort to our leaders who are badly affected by Friday’s terror. Help us to build our country in peace and contribute to the respect and confidence between peoples and nations. God, we pray; in your mercy hear our prayer.
The head of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, is a member of the Church of Norway. The WCC issued this statement.
“Attacking the core institutions of a democratic society and innocent youth gathered for a workshop to discuss political issues, leaves me shocked,” Tveit said. “Being close to these events, I am deeply saddened, realizing that this has happened in my beloved country, with its people, its leaders, and its institutions.”
“In times like this the Norwegian people and government need the solidarity of the international society and the prayers of the worldwide church,” he said. “Now we know the reality of so many others in the world were violence pierces the lives of the innocent.”
Tveit has asked the member churches of the WCC for their prayers and solidarity, saying “we pray that Norway might be able to stand together as an open, peace-loving country also in the future.”
“Let us all stay together for a world of justice and peace, without hate and revenge, but with the values of democracy, caring for the dignity and the human rights of every person,” he said. “We are all created in the image of God.”
As the details of the tragic shootings of 84 teenagers and the bombing in Oslo, the Norwegian authorities are beginning to get a clearer picture of the person believed to be the perpetrator.
“The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a man they identified as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian in connection with a bombing in central Oslo and a shooting attack on a nearby island that killed at least 92 people. Officials said the death toll could climb as they continued to search for the missing.
As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II, a portrait began to emerge of the main suspect in the case as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.
The police have not identified the suspect, but Norwegian media have identified him as Anders Behring Breivik, 32.”
MSNBC reports that
Norwegian journalist Liss Goril Anda, writing for the BBC, said Behring Breivik had left “racist, extremist right-wing comments along with fellow anti-Muslims” on the websites. She also said there were attempts to set up groups allied to the English Defence League in the U.K.
“These all represent, with varying degrees of extremism, a section of the Norwegian population which feels that the country’s immigration policies are too lax,” Goril Anda wrote. “They feel disenfranchised despite Norway’s attempts at distributing fairly its immense oil wealth. Norway might now be forced to deal head-on with this undercurrent of nationalism and anti-immigration sentiments.”
Initial news reports presumed the gunman or gunmen were Islamic terrorists, partly because an Islamic group associated with Al Queda immediately claimed they were behind the attacks. But such claims are often made immediately after any tragedy and most news agencies have learned to discount them.
It turns out though this was much more like the Oklahoma City bombings than it was the 9/11 attacks. The gunmen is reported to have had connections with the Nazi movement in Sweden in an eerie parallel to McVeigh’s connection to American nazism.