Prayers for Christchurch

On Friday, 15 March 2019, a shooting occurred at a mosque on Deans Ave, near Hagley Park, followed by another at a Linwood mosque on Aldwins Road, leaving at least 50 people dead. 43 were killed at the Deans Ave mosque, and 7 died at the Linwood Ave mosque. One person died in hospital after suffering serious wounds.  48 others were admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds.

Rosalie Sugrue writes: “I am friends with this American pastor, Maren Tirabassi, who presents a Christian blog supported by contributors from many countries, called Gifts in Open Hands  [. Maren is an expert in giving grief words in a Christian context. Last night she posted a prayer for Christchurch on her blog and I responded with a contribution and asked her permission for her words to be available for use in our churches, she consented immediately.”

Prayer for Christchurch

Maren Tirabassi, New Hampshire, USA
(Gifts in Open Hands blog – shared with permission

‘To Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return.
Oh Allah, help us in our calamity and replace it with good.’

God, we weep with you for Christchurch,
our hearts torn open
for those who lost family and friends
to this unimaginable violence,
our minds bent trying to understand hatred.,
our spirits sent in love,
to those who must overcome fear.

In trauma, we pray peace.
in hospitals, we pray healing;
in schools and mosques,
on marae and at churches,
we pray many small and great
works of kindness,
not just today but in days to come;
in mourning, we pray
a knowing that all the world grieves.


A Kiwi Response

Rosalie Sugrue, Kapiti

God, as citizens of Aotearoa we come to you in shock.
Unprecedented slaughter has taken place in our land.

Though aware your wonderful world
has been marred by human violence
since humans learnt to fear each other,
we experience you as a God of loving kindness.
We know you are with all victims, loving them
as parents love their children, comforting and
supporting, and blessing those who care for them.

We believe you sowed in humankind
the seeds of love, and that you
sent the Christ to teach us how
to increase the yield of compassion.
As global understanding grew
replacing fear ‘of other’ with wisdom,
we expected ignorance to diminish.
The vast majority of humans have
embraced goodness and kindness
as the essence of being human,
yet, pockets of distrust and evil persist.

But, not in New Zealand!
In the past one hundred years
less than a dozen unstable souls
have fired random shots at our citizens.
Mass murder remained outside our experience.
Today we discovered we are not immune,
hate crime respects no boundaries.
For all our lofty and smug ideals
we are citizens of a world infested with terror.

New Zealand was selected to prove nowhere is safe.
This evil was deliberately inflicted on Christchurch
the city bravely recovering from our biggest
natural disaster in recent times.
Though filled with disgust, we stand
with our Prime Minister asserting,
“Terrorists have no place in our country.
They chose us but we utterly reject them.
We support our Muslim sisters and brothers
and all who chose to live in peace.

In this unprecedented situation
we Kiwis will cling to love.
So help us God.  Amen.

A pdf copy of these prayers can be found here.

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