Showing posts with label earthquake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label earthquake. Show all posts

21 March 2012

After the Christchurch earthquake

The Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 seriously damaged the 19th century cathedral as well as causing terrible additional damage and many deaths. It is now certain the building must be demolished. What should replace it?

Christchurch Cathedral after the earthquakeNoah Cremisino has posted an article about the lovely old cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand. The remains of the old building are unsafe and unrepairable. He asks his readers to suggest what should replace it at the centre of the city.

Although I'm an outsider and have never visited New Zealand, I'd still like to offer some suggestions. But first, I believe the city should give itself plenty of time to consider the options.

If the building cannot be saved, perhaps the best thing would be to demolish the remains quickly, perhaps leaving some of the fallen stones where they lie as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the city. Then turn the rest of the site into a temporary garden until a decision can finally be made. There is no hurry and there will be many needs that are far more urgent and pressing, probably for some years to come.

I would like to think that any new building would be a modern, earthquake resistant structure, but echoing some of the cathedral's iconic features - maybe a square tower and spire of the same size in the same place (a steel skeleton or a full building), some patterns similar to the geometric design from the old roof, even some of the original carved ornamentation reused to create landscape features.

Consider using the ground floor of any new structure as a multi-purpose space for concerts, large church gatherings, temporary exhibitions etc. Include rooms of various sizes as well as a place for coffee, an earthquake library, a before and after photo display, etc.

Most importantly, involve the city's population in making suggestions and voting on ideas before any final choices are made.

You might like to review how Coventry Cathedral in the UK was rebuilt after its destruction in a World War II air raid. The old ruins and the new building are full of messages for anyone with eyes to see. It's a different culture and a different era so there's no direct application from Coventry to Christchurch. But you might do something very different yet still draw on some principles from the Coventry experience.

In fact, why not contact the city and cathedral of Coventry and set up a Christchurch/Coventry exchange or twinning arrangement? Compare notes and visit one another's cities.

But that's more than enough from an interfering old Brit. I'm confident that the city and people of Christchurch will come up with a really great way to use this tragically available city space. What better way to end this article than a quote from the Bishop of Christchurch, Victoria Matthews.
The Diocese of Christchurch promises to work with the people of Christchurch-Canterbury as we recover together. We are a resurrection people. No amount of death and destruction will defeat us.
See also: Christchurch Cathedral's website

28 February 2011

Brampton - An easy prayer turned hard

< 22nd February 2011 | Index | 3rd March 2011 >

Meeting with Sean this evening provided an unexpected dimension to prayer and faith. What began as a simple prayer for children to be happy turned into a deeply significant personal challenge. Life with Yahshua is full of surprises.

Whatever our age, we are all childrenI suppose by now nothing should surprise me! Here's what happened.

We sat drinking coffee and I wittered on for a while about the situation in North Africa, and Libya in particular. Not particularly illuminating stuff, but something that has preoccupied me over recent days. Sean listened but had little to add as he's been busy with other things of his own.

The prayer - Over the weeks and months he has been working his way through prayer circles on a T-shirt. Here's Sean's explanation. Read what he says and then come back here. If you don't, what follows may be a bit of a mystery.

I asked how this process was going, and wondered if it would be OK to pray about one or two of the circles together. Sean thought that would be a good plan and picked one out at random. We looked at it together, someone had written, 'For all children to be happy'.

What a lovely prayer request; simple, pure, and certainly worthy. I thought, 'What an easy thing to pray for.' Boy, was I wrong to think that!

The problem - As we began to pray, this 'simple' prayer challenged me more and more about my own faith. Perhaps the words 'all' and 'be' are the main problem. Do I have the faith to go to Father and ask, in Jesus name, that all children will be happy? All children? There is so much pain and suffering in the world and children are not immune. Here are some of the issues faced by children every day in our world - hunger, pain, sickness, abuse, no parents, uncaring parents, poverty, dirty drinking water, isolation, bullying, loneliness, fear, violence, self doubt, abandonment, loss... The list could go on, add some more yourself.

How can I ask for all children to be happy? It's easy to say the words so let's rephrase that. How can I believe that such a prayer will be answered? It seems easier to pray for one child with a particular known issue to be met. 'Father, please bring happiness into the life of {name goes here}'. But all children?

Yahshua loves children. He told his disciples not to prevent the little ones coming to him. He told them that unless they themselves came like small children they wouldn't even enter the Kingdom of heaven! (Mark 10:13-16)

Challenged - Whoever wrote that simple T-shirt prayer could not have known that they were setting me such a mighty challenge! The Holy Spirit didn't make it easier for me; he told me, 'If you can't pray for such a simple thing, how will you be able to ask for anything more difficult?'

I recognise that the Creator and King of this universe truly loves every child and certainly has no wish to keep any of them from happiness. Jesus himself walked through this same broken world and saw (and felt) the suffering and pain for himself. Love is the answer, but it's an answer he wants me to live out in practical ways as part of his body. I may be an ear, an eye, a foot or a hand. I must play my part by hearing or seeing suffering and going and reaching out in love.

I've rarely felt more challenged. What about you? Do you have views or thoughts about prayer and faith? Why not leave a comment? Let's have a discussion.

You can see more of Sean's T-shirt prayer circles on his 'Children in Need' Prayer Spot. The photo is image 54 from a collection on the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

< 22nd February 2011 | Index | 3rd March 2011 >

24 February 2011

RESPONSE - Noah in Christchurch

It's still possible (even likely) that a few more survivors may be pulled from the devastation that is Christchurch right now. But the focus is already moving to recovering bodies and restoring vital services. In the middle of the destruction comes an item about Noah and Kate Cremisimo.

Position of Christchurch (red circle)Noah and Kate moved to Christchurch, New Zealand from Denver, USA. They are church planters focussing especially on starting small, organic and reproducible expressions of church life, mostly meeting in homes, offices, and other small settings.

Noah writes that although their home suffered only minor damage and seems to be structurally sound, there is no power, no water, and no sewerage and none of those services are likely to be restored soon because damage is so widespread. Clearly, repairing the city's infrastructure is urgent and important but saving lives has to be the priority.

We should all pray for the people of Christchurch in their current distress and need. But in addition to that, Noah has a further prayer request. He writes...

Please pray that God will birth hundreds of simple communities from this situation... especially considering that SO many institutional churches will be unusable for quite a while.

Every church family is precious, whether it's small and informal or large and institutional in nature. But perhaps these small, local forms of church have the nimbleness and local knowledge to help their immediate neighbours in ways that are particularly appropriate during the aftermath of an earthquake.

Pray for Noah and Kate, for their friends and neighbours, and for the local church in every size and shape and form, that they will be at the forefront of helping those around them. Together as one family serving one Almighty Father may they be able to make a real difference.

Matthew 25:31-46 seems relevant here. There will be many in Christchurch and the surrounding area who will be hungry, thirsty, friendless, sick or without shelter or money or suitable clothes. There will be some who are grief-stricken, not knowing where to turn, without friends or family. Some will need practical help, many will just need a listening ear. And some may need emotional support for years to come. May the church bless them all and provide whatever they need.

Noah and Kate will be in the thick of it. And later they will have some extraordinary stories to tell - but not just yet.

You can learn more about Noah and Kate at 'Stories from the Revolution'.

01 February 2010

Colworth (CU) - comfort from love

Today, Steph led the meeting on the topic 'What is the Mind of Christ?' A Red Cross commemorative stamp from the Faroe IslandsThis was based in part on a recent e-bulletin from Christians at Work.

With the recent Haitian earthquake fresh in our minds we asked ourselves whether the Lord causes earthquakes or simply allows them. And in either case, is there some sense in which he is displaying his anger when events like this happen?

I explained that this is a view that I, personally, have never been able to accept. It seems very clear to me that we are living on a battlefield and we should expect bad things to happen from time to time. Yahshua is in us, but the enemy is against us, that much is clear. Earthquakes are a necessary part of the process that builds continents and mountains, without these processes the Earth would have been relatively featureless and an ocean world with perhaps no land at all.

Steph moved us on to consider the fragrant aroma mentioned by Brian Allenby in the e-bulletin...
God is utterly perfect, even handed and above all loving in His outlook upon the world. He wants the best for us. But He also wants us to live a life that is pleasing to Him, to be the fragrant aroma, that we so often read about in our Bibles.
We are to be that aroma. However, we can't simply imitate the Lord, if we are to be truly fragrant we must have him within us.

Another aspect Brian Allenby mentions is the need to be humble. He quotes Paul...
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
The Lord does not call us to be strong on his behalf, he calls us in our weakness to allow him to be strong in us and through us.

19 January 2010

Great Doddington - a broken world

We began by chatting about work, and how staff cuts have made life harder - even for those who have retained a job.

Haitian earthquake 2010Barbara read from Isaiah 40:31 about how those who hope in the Lord will be renewed like eagles, soaring on wings. It seemed all the more significant because she had read it and then heard it again as the basis of a sermon on TV. Humble yourself and I will raise you up and honour you.

Jody mentioned Nehemiah. Although circumstances can bring us low, she still searches out the Lord. We do need to be humble. She also mentioned Haiti and the recent earthquake and the subject of prophecy came up. Why would the Lord not warn us about a disaster like that? Why does he allow us to be brought low? Some people have said that the earthquake was because of the presence of occult practices in Haiti.

I suggested that we live in a broken world and we must expect disasters to happen sometimes. When the tower in Siloam fell and killed people, it wasn't because they were more guilty than others (Luke 13:4). We must be prepared to follow Yahshua regardless of disasters. Rachael thought that trouble, if we face it in the right way, helps us grow to know him and understand him. And Peter pointed out that Jesus suffered and died in fulfillment of a great promise. We need to learn to see things through - come what may.

Glenn reminded us about the manna in the desert which was provision but also brought an important lesson (man does not live by bread alone). He told us the story of an island that escaped damage in the Tsunami. Pentecostals living there had prayed for safety for the people, not knowing what was coming. Everyone was saved while neighbouring islands had big death tolls.

Jody spoke about William Wiberforce and his portrayal in the film 'Amazing Grace'. He had some humbling experiences and difficulties in his life, but he honoured God. Rachael referred to Joel 2:28-29 where we read that the Lord will pour out his Spirit on everyone. What an amazing prophecy, he will pour himself into us! And Glenn reminded us that Jesus said, 'When you see these things happen, don't let your hearts be troubled.' (Matthew 24:6) Rachael said we should focus on him, listen to him and his voice.

I spoke in a tongue which Glenn interpreted. He saw a lion released from a heavily barred cage. The lion came bounding out, it had a big mane. He realised that Jesus has been released and his roar goes out to the nations and also reaches the church. 'Are you there? Are you listening? Are you coming?'

At this point Barbara saw the words 'Maple Leaf', and Jody described a picture of the aftermath of a forest fire. She saw a huge tree with charred debris all around it. She realised that charcoal can be used as fuel; even in the aftermath of disaster there will be something left in our hearts that is useful for our development. He can turn any disaster into something of value. Jesus is the light and the energy, he tells us not to focus on the problems. Instead we should focus on Jesus himself.

Rachael saw a bolt of lightning hitting a tree. And the Lord told her, 'This is my power, this is who I am. The lightning can destroy a tree but it can also light up the sky all around.

We spent a few minutes learning more about Church of Two (CO2) and testing it for ourselves.

15 January 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Purgatory?

Roger mentioned the 'Ship of Fools' website and recommended the 'Purgatory' discussion. The 'Purgatory' discussionI took a look at this after the meeting but didn't have time to explore it thoroughly. However, I was much more interested to learn that Roger and Ruth have been trying Church of Two (CO2) and glad that they seem to be enjoying it and finding it useful.

The three of us (Paul, Roger and I) ran through CO2 together. One of the things that was much on our minds, of course, was the recent earthquake in Haiti.

I agreed to send some CO2 literature to both Roger and Paul to help them understand the process better and also to pass on to others they may be interested in teaching it to.

We prayed for some of our friends and spent some time chatting, finishing off with a very fine chip shop meal.

12 November 2009

Eaton Ford - Playing on the field

We met at Paul's house this evening and started to think about the fact that we are already in the Kingdom of Heaven (or perhaps we could say the Kingdom is in us). I explained how I'd heard Floyd McClung saying that in football or rugby Playing rugbythe game is played on the field, not in the locker room at half time. That time with the coach is a time for advice and encouragement to prepare us for the second half. It's the same in church life, we meet to encourage one another and to grow in spiritual things, but the purpose is making diciples and that game is played in the world in daily life, not in our meetings!

Paul reminded us that whatever our age or physical condition we need to be able to say, 'But I'm OK because God is in me. I'm not worried about death.' Jim remarked that we have difficulties, illnesses, but we know that we have life in Christ.

We thought that people today are looking for some kind of spiritual experience, there's much more interest in the supernatural than there was. Jim thought this was partly because of the financial crash and partly because of terrorism. People are looking for security and for an answer and for spiritual power of some sort. But they don't know where to look.

Next we talked about Elijah and how Yahweh had not been in the earthquake, the fire or the storm, but in the still, small voice. Because of this we need to listen very, very carefully and we need to have time in our lives for Jesus. Sean said that to put it bluntly - it's a matter of what's most important to us.

I pointed out that there are many ways to communicate with people (voice, writing, body language, signing etc) and it's the same with the Lord, he has several ways of reaching us. I read Tracy's amazing words about how he wants to speak to us. Jim referred back to Ephesians 1:18 where Paul writes about our hearts being 'flooded with light'. And Jim explained that for him the presence of the Lord is like a white light and how awesome that is, like soaking in his presence.

This prompted me to ask, 'What is the most amazing thing he reveals to us?' Jim said, 'The Son, by revelation'. Sean pointed out that first we have to diminish in stature, that it's necessary but the hardest thing to do. And Jim mentioned the radiance of the Lord that had remained on Moses face after he was on the mountain with him.

And I had something of a revelation about this. Just as there are different parts of the body and each must obey the head, so it is in the church. It's not necessary for the toe to become less, but it is necessary for it to obey the head and to do the job it was designed for. So for us, it's not so much that we must diminish but rather that we must be appropriate in what we are and do. We must fit the role we have been given neither more nor less. And we must obey Christ.

07 October 2008

Great Doddington - earthquake and desert

Tonight had a sober tone initially when we prayed for Pete Shortall-Strike, aged 29, who died suddenly and shockingly last week, Desert landscapeand for his family and friends. It is hard to make sense of the death of such a vibrant, vivacious young man who appeared to have his whole life ahead of him.

Rachael had a picture of Father sitting in an armchair having a chat with his children. He was saying that His will and our will are like two techtonic plates under a continent, and that when they move in different directions they rub up against each other, and it's not surprising therefore that the friction causes a little smoke, and an earthquake sized shift in the ground beneath our feet, or a bit of a rumble.

A prophesy was heard, that the day is coming when it will rain in the desert, the day is coming when the rivers and lakes will dry up, and the time is coming when Father and His people will stand together, they will see Him and know Him.

Prayers were said for the political leaders grappling with the complexities of the global banking crisis, that they would be guided to make the right choices and that they would inject a moral code into the system to reduce the likelihood of this happening again. We also prayed for Abigail Maynard and her parents Chris and Judy, that the Lord would intervene with Abigail's liver failure and that her parents would be strengthened and their work for the Lord glorified.

Our prayers centred around 'praying' into God's will - being so much aware how easy it is to follow our own will, and sometimes when we translate our will as His; we all felt the need to be at peace with our situations even when we don't understand what is going on around us, our families, our friends...lets face it, the world!

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