When this week's devastating earthquake in Christchurch struck, many of New Zealand's top Christian leaders were gathering near Wellington. A few internationals were there. I was there also.
Among the words that were spoken, two speeches seemed to strike a cord with me. The most profoundly simple and yet stirring was from Sam Chapman, leading Christian Maori spokesman.
"Why we do wait for a crisis to realise just how precious we are to each other? We've got a whole society out there saying, "Love me before I become a statistic! Don't wait till something goes wrong. Love me today!" I hope that out of the rubble, not just materially, but spiritually, psychologically, that the lessons we learn from tragedies like today, and there will be more . . . lets love each other! Lets not wait."
The other was Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA International Director, who was speaking at our meetings. Here are some snippets from my recording.
". . . I want to say a word to you my brothers and sisters in New Zealand, on this day of tragedy. I want to let you know that the body of Christ around the world is standing with you . . . You know . . there is a sense of hope that God brings at these times. . . I believe that the church will rise up in Christchurch and across New Zealand, with the world church standing behind you, to be beacons of hope in this great tragedy. We just want you to know that we are deeply concerned for you as you face these difficult days together . . but people can have hope and that's the great message." Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe