March 16, 2011 Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Taipei
Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquake Memorial
Thank you for joining us tonight to remember those who perished in Christchurch, New Zealand’s earthquake, February 22, 2011.
At this very moment as we gather to share in the grief, and hope for Christchurch, we do so in the midst of an unfolding calamity in Japan---earthquake, tsunami, and possible nuclear fallout.
In the past few weeks, it feels like Nature has turned against us. In the face of such catastrophes, we become children. We cannot understand. We cannot find reason to give meaning to our loss and fear. We can only come in faith, trusting God to be with us and to deliver us from our distress.
Tonight, we come to remember those who perished, those who grieve, and those who will rebuild and recover Christchurch.
We affirm three universal truths,
First, we are one.
We are connected as the human family.
As John Done wrote in 1664, during the Black plague in London,
No man is an island; no one stands alone;
Each man’s joy is joy to me and each man’s grief is my own.
I am diminished with each person’s death; because I am involved in mankind.
We are diminished by the loss of each soul in Christchurch.
We lament the loss of each person; we mourn with all those who’s beloved have perished.
Secondly, as we remember those who died, and those who grieve, and those who are healing from injuries great and small, we become aware that we are neighbors.
We realize anew that we live in a global community. We know in our hearts that I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.
We are called to be good neighbors. We are summoned to be good Samaritans.
We know that Christchurch is our town, our city. As we are one in humanity, we affirm that we are also one in community. We are called to civic duty to help and assist our neighbors as they seek to heal.
Finally, tonight we share in Christchurch’s citizens’ hope. We believe in resurrection of a city and of a people.
We share the faith that Christchurch shall raise from the ashes and live in the light of life like the great Red Bird, the Phoenix. We believe as a people, as a community, that we shall rebuild Christchurch.
Therefore, tonight as we share in mourning, I call for you to heed the summons to be a good neighbor and to assist in the rebuilding of Christchurch with our gifts of prayers, service, and donations.
We all live by God’s grace and mercy. Therefore, our simple prayer is; Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Amen.