Christchurch, Epicentre of Tragedy
Three major events have occurred over the last decade that have changed who we are as New Zealanders: the Christchurch earthquakes, the mosque shootings and the Covid-19 pandemic. The fact that all three events affect Cantabrians directly, needs to be stated and acknowledged—Cantabrians have been at the epicentre of tragedy, loss and trauma.
In this edition of War Cry, you will read about the extraordinary and sacrificial nature of a representation of people who served, and still serve, the shattered community of Christchurch. The ten years since the February earthquake has given them a perspective that only time can bring, as they share with us about the trauma of the days, weeks, months and years following the earthquakes. They go on to refer to the change in the people of Christchurch to a more caring and community-minded people and the visibility of The Salvation Army as more than a helping hand, but a shoulder for many to lean on.
In keeping with this theme of tragedy, Major Barbara Sampson reminds us on page 20 that no matter what we face, it is prayer and our relationship with God that sustains and enables us to bring the light of Christ into each situation. She challenges us to ‘Just carry the questions’, as there are always unanswerable theological questions that follow on from tragedy.
It says in 1 Corinthians 13:12a: ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly…’ (KJV), so it will be on the other side of eternity that we will know and understand the answers to the questions we carry, but, in the meantime, let’s trust our God in times of tragedy and in times of recovery.
‘I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.’
Amy March, from Little Women
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Ko nga maunga hoki ka riro ke, ko nga pukepuke ka nekehia atu; tena ko toku aroha e kore e rereke i a koe, e kore ano e nekehia ketia te kawenata e mau ai taku rongo; e ai ta Ihowa e atawhai nei i a koe.