This is a post about the Christchurch earthquake.
This is another post about the Christchurch earthquake because it is all I can really think about at the moment.
There is other news, important news. Libya, for example. Other things are happening in New Zealand too. Of course. Sentencing in court after long-running trials. The university year is beginning and chaplains and others are swinging into orientation-week action. Truth be told, I hardly know what else is happening in the world.
I have a strange sort of tunnel vision.
I stop thinking about Christchurch because I have to. There is work to do. People with pastoral needs in our congregation. People who need my loving attention. There is life to live: shopping, a dinner to host. A Sunday School lesson to plan. Craft materials to procure.
Then I think about Christchurch.
I think about Christchurch. About how we talk about being grounded, feeling the steadiness beneath our feet. Since September 2010 there have been three significant earthquakes in Christchurch and more than 4,000 aftershocks. Their earth is not steady…
I think about Christchurch. About churches as places of sanctuary, or refuge. Yet there are dead people buried in the rubble of churches in Christchurch. I think about the priests and bishops standing by as Christchurch cathedral is ministered to by cranes and rescue personnel. Watching and praying. A place of life and hope also a place of death and despair.
I think about priests and bishops and ministers and presbyters and pastors whose churches have been destroyed, whose congregations have been devastated, whose neighbours are traumatised. About the ministry that they are exercising even as they face their own griefs and losses. Friends who might never re-enter the place that was their home. Everything gone.
Tonight I am thinking about Christchurch. 113 dead. 228 missing.
Before and after photos here
(The title of this post is written in Maori, the language of the people of the land of Aotearoa, New Zealand. It addresses God (E te Atua) and asks for aroha (love, compassion) to come towards us. We use it in the Anglican liturgy in the same was as Kyrie eleison/Lord have mercy. It seems a good way to pray for Christchurch)
*Photo by Mike Crudge – Assistant Minister, Oxford Terrace Baptist Church. Former housemate, dear friend.