14 October 2019
After Pike River we knew
about gases and explosions
now we are tragically knowledgeable
about magnitude, depth
and location of seismic activity.
We know at visceral level now
between ‘ rescue’ and ‘recovery’.
We know now,
in a way we had only before suspected,
that soft yielding bodies
and hard concrete rubble
do not mix,
information we could have done without
This knowledge we did not want to know.
We thought twenty nine in a mine was the worst,
but for this sharply climbing toll,
we need another word than ‘worst’
to speak our pain.
We have lost our innocence.
We now know too much
about our earth, our vulnerability,
Grappling with the reality
of this land’s traumatic wound,
to meet this tragedy,
we have had to grow up.
But now, other knowledge we also have;
We know of amazing courage,
community spirit and love,
help given between strangers,
generosity on a scale we haven’t seen before
and we have seen firsthand
the dedication of rescuers and medics,
of officials and police.
To meet the challenge
the human spirit
has risen phoenix-like from the rubble.
We still weep through this dark night,
but we also know
in a believing-against-all-the-odds kind of knowing
in an Easter-Day-after-Friday’s-darkness kind of knowing
that some morning,
the joy of life will return.
This is a reflection by Rev Dr Susan Jones Minister at Timaru
The grief, shock and empathy of the whole of New Zealand showed on Tuesday 1 March when two minutes silence was asked for nation wide. We rang the church bell for ten minutes before 12:50pm and then had the silence. With only that indication about 20 people turned up in the church [including children]. We read Susan's mediation, kept the silence together then finished with the adaption of the Psalm
When our hearts are so heavy, it seems
we cannot carry them through the day,
God will give us compassion through our friends,
so we will not bear the load alone.
When our words are so inadequate
it seems we cannot speak them,
God will give us hope
so we can break forth in songs of joy.
When we have so lost our way
we stumble in the shadows of life,
God will give us light,
so we can find the living waters
Our God is like a rock
unmoved from love,
unshaken by the depth of our sorrow and lament,
firm beneath our feet
when our world rocks beneath us.
We placed the people of Christchurch, the people of New Zealand and ourselves in God's care.
And went about our daily business.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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