Today, February 22, marks seven years since the devastating 2011 earthquake which brought tragic loss of life to our city of Christchurch where we continue the long and difficult process of rebuilding lives and livelihoods.
There are many signs of great hope as people work together to build a city that is not only stronger in fabric and infrastructure, but more visionary and hope-filled into the future.
While many new buildings have been created, a number of visionaries are working to ensure that the best of the past is restored and beautified for the future. The true visionary knows that we are able to look forward only when we carry the best of what has gone before us.
Three weeks after the February 2011 quake tens of thousands of us gathered in Hagley Park for a memorial service. On that occasion, Bishop Barry Jones led us in prayer.
Today as we mark this anniversary, let us pray this prayer for all those who continue to suffer the effects of this tragedy. As we hear Bishop Barry leading us in prayer let us continue to pray the citizens of our city. And let us also pray for Bishop Barry who led us with wisdom and vision in the difficult months immediately after the earthquake. We pray that he now shares the fulness of life for which God created him.
Both the audio of Bishop Barry leading the prayer (background noise edited out) and the text are below.
After you have prayed you might like to share a grace that you have experienced in Christchurch in the years since the earthquakes. Do this in the comments section below.
O God whose mercies are without number,
and whose treasure and goodness is infinite,
graciously increase the faith of your people
that all may grasp and rightly understand
by whose love they have been created.
Your Son Jesus has taught us
to open our hearts to you in sincere prayer,
today after [seven years],
we commend to your love and mercy
all those whose lives have been changed forever
by the earthquake of 22 February 2011.
We commend to your mercy
those who lost their lives in that terrible time.
We remember too,
those who were evacuated in great stress
from city rest homes
and who have since departed this life
Grieving and distraught families,
friends and workmates
entered thereby into a time of sadness,
loneliness and heartbreak.
Have mercy on them all O God.
We commend also to you those living survivors
who bear wounds and scars and injuries
both visible and invisible
from the earthquakes which have continued to oppress us.
May their trust and confidence in you never fail,
but rather grow to be strong and life-giving
for themselves and for those close to them.
Your Son Jesus
showed himself to be the physician of souls.
May those burdened by fear, anxiety,
worry and hopelessness,
know your healing hand.
Many of our people Lord carry painful memories
of building and structures falling,
and persons being crushed and trapped.
Have mercy on them and grant them peace.
We pray in Jesus’ name
“May the living live in hope
and those who have died rest in peace”
Bill English at the unveiling of the Earthquake Memorial (image above) 22 February 2017