News reports today tell us that 40 people have been killed and more than 20 injured in shooting at two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand. Four people have been arrested in connection with this massacre and early evidence suggests that this is an ideologically motivated crime.
Families, children, women and men going about their Friday shot and killed by people driven by beliefs born of hatred and intolerance.
My heart lays broken.
As the Bishop of this diocese, which includes Christchurch, I ask all people of goodwill to join me in praying for the repose of the souls of those killed – we may not share identical faith commitments, but we trust that God hears all prayers and keeps us all in God’s love.
I ask you to pray for the injured, that they may recover and return to good health.
I ask you to pray for families of those who have died that they may find comfort and eventual peace.
I ask you to pray for those in the communities affected – the communities of those specific mosques, the neighbourhoods surrounding these events and, given the nature of the crimes, the whole Muslim community in Christchurch, in New Zealand more broadly and, I suspect, even here in Australia, all of whom end today more terrified than they started it.
Finally, and perhaps toughest, I ask you to pray for the perpetrators of this crime, for those who encouraged them, for those in the media they listened to and for all those who share their beliefs that they may meet Wisdom, grasp justice and finally find compassion for all peoples and cease this hateful path.
Lord, hear our prayer.