In New Zealand two minutes of Silence, and simple, beautiful, faithful words of blessing.

In New Zealand there will (and by now perhaps has been) a two minute silence and short service remembering the dead and the living, the devastation and the hopes for recovery, following the earthquake in Christ Church one week ago. It is a simple, beautiful and faithful remembrance. Dear readers, on Tuesday at 12:45 PM local time where you are, perhaps we too can pray.  


An order of service to be used on Tuesday 1st March 2011
Suggested start time 12.45pm – total length 10 minutes.

Kia Ora and welcome,

We gather here this afternoon to mark one week after the devastating earthquake which has rocked our city and our lives. At 12.51 we will join with the whole of our country in observing a 2 minutes silence in memory of those who have died and those who are still missing.

We are united by a common tragedy, but our experiences over the last week have varied greatly and our feelings will be different too. Grief, helplessness, fear, anxiety, anger and emptiness as well as thankfulness for our own personal safety may be amongst our feelings today. At times like this, words of Scripture can articulate feelings which we do not know how to put into words. With that in mind, I read some verses from Psalm 130.

Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord,
O Lord hear my voice,
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning
more than those who watch for the morning.  (Psalm 130:1-2, 5-6)

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, we commend to your faithful love
those who are crying from the depths;
help them to watch and pray
through their time of darkness,
and give them strength to face tomorrow,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Only a very small number of names have been released by the police of those confirmed dead in the earthquake. We now read these names aloud mindful of the many others who have lost their lives. Please stand with me as I read this list after which we will observe the 2 minutes silence together.
  • Natasha Sarah HADFIELD
  • Owen Morris WRIGHT
  • Joseph Tehau POHIO
  • Jaime Robert McDowell GILBERT
  • Jayden HARRIS
  • Baxtor GOWLAND
  • Jeff Pelesa SANFT
  • Andrew Christian Ross CRAIG
  [as at 2.30pm on Monday 28th February, see http://www.police.govt.nz/list-deceased]
We stand in silence together

2 minutes silence
O God who brought us to birth and in whose arms we die,
in our grief and shock,
contain and comfort us,
embrace us with your love,
give us hope in confusion
and grace to look to the future.

[You are invited to join in with singing Hymn 360 (Hymns for Todays Church), “Father hear the prayer we offer”, omitting verse 2.
Father hear the prayer we offer –
not for ease our prayer shall be,
but for strength that we may ever
live our lives courageously
Not for ever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would strike the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.
Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our guide,
through endeavour failure, danger,
Father be there at our side. ]
Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matt 11:28)
The God who sees our tears,
the God who knows our pain,
the God who understands our emptiness
will be with us as we go now,
and as we work through our grief.
And the blessing of God,
Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life
be with you now and always. Amen.

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