I feel a bit guilty asking for prayer yet again. Or maybe even greedy. So I ask you to bear with me as I explain our need.
In the early part of this afternoon, shoppers here in Christchurch were thronging the malls.
We know what happened at 1:58pm – and again and again during the afternoon.
Those malls, of course, were evacuated.
And tonight, as I drove through the city and especially through the suburbs, there was hardly a car or pedestrian in sight.
It was as though people were hiding. When the whole world begins to tilt and roll, they’re frightened to be caught again in a crowd.
So I ask your prayers for the people of greater Christchurch.
I ask your prayers for courage and good humour and incredible resilience.
I fear the rise of anger, too. It’s hard to get angry at an earthquake – so the tendency is to turn on others. And what’s doubly sad is that many already experience Christmas as a stressful time.
Oh, and one more thing.
For the most part, we will be worshipping outdoors this Christmas, 'where sheep may safely graze'.
The late night services will be ‘BYOT’ events – Bring Your Own Torch – because candles and earthquakes don’t go together, either.
Would you, in your mercy, pray for those who are frightened?
And pray that they will dare to venture out and that the Christmas services will be havens of praise and wonder at the birth of the new born King?
And that we may all return safely home again as well?
Thank you, and we pray for you who have been at our side every step of the way.
Thank you and God bless you this Christmas.