An Oslo Lament

I have just got back from holiday and have quickly prepared something for the morning service about the terrible horrors that have unfolded in Norway.  I will not offer commentary on the events themselves as there are people much better qualified to do that than myself.  However, I will offer the response I am going to use with the congregation tomorrow morning.

When such a shocking event takes place it is easy for the church to bury its head and ignore what has transpired.  In this situation we have a man/men who have taken the lives of the innocent in what has been reported as the name of “Christianity”.  It seems to me that the correct response should be lament and repentance for a broken world.  I asked twitter

What would you like to tell my congregation tomorrow about #oslo in 140 characters? Will project and talk through in morning. Please

I was amazed by the number of responses I received and their thought provoking nature.  I am going to project them in the morning and talk about each one before the confession in the service.  These are the responses I have received.  A big thank you to everyone who replied.

@EdwardBGreen struggling with this. Can’t even bring myself to echo Vaux’s “God is found in the shit”

@SwindonG I didn’t know them,I haven’t visited their country & can’t speak their language – but they r my brothers & sisters, it hrts

@Melanie_Cooper Tragedy is part of life’s tapestry. Our job is to project Christ’s love into each situation as we are able – incl. prayer

@Nevillina_3 I don’t understand how anyone can hate enough to plan and inflict such suffering. I pray I never will.

@SwindonG  … reflecting on Norwegian PM’s response ‘we will fight this with more Democracy’ … I don’t know where he gets his wisdom

Half an hour later @SwindonG went on to say:

@SwindonG … re PM his statement has me close y to tears each time I read it

@S_Cat #oslo it is not about Islam vs Christian. It is faith vs fanaticism.

@sh52mjh Tragic loss of young lives; potential unfulfilled; a lesson not to jump to conclusions – fundamentalism Christian & muslim

@twurchsteward that ‘fundamentalism’ and R Wing hate arise out of our complacency. We must all challenge hate where ever we meet it.

@artsyhonker “By their fruits ye shall know them” Murderer identified himself as Christian but actions show otherwise. What  about us?

@sh52mjh Fundamentalism can affect all creeds & religions to the same tragic end. Welcome the diversity in God’s wonderful creation

@fragranceofgod God is there with everyone involved in the tragedies #oslo and has compassion for his children who mourn.

Once we’ve briefly explored the issue we are going to use the Kyrie form of confession.

For a world so marred by intolerance,
in which race is a reason for hatred
and communities are torn apart,

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

For a world that is shattered by violence,
in which innocent lives are taken
in the name of the prince of peace,

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

For a world in which parents are grieving,
for their children who didn’t come home.
For communities who’ll always remember,

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

May God our Father forgive us our sins,
and bring us to the eternal joy of his kingdom
where dust and ashes have no dominion.
Amen

Sorry it’s so late and I didn’t have time to do a bit more.  Many thanks to everyone who helped.

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6 Responses

  1. @journojulz Acts of nature – savage or kind – are part of nature. Those with a nature to heal will do what we can when savage nature calls.

  2. A friend of mine posted on this here: http://learningfromsophie.com/2011/07/23/they-will-know-us-by-our-love/

    The bit that really stuck out for me was her quoting Paul’s letter to the Romans, where he says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This rings very true to me. I wonder what we can do to overwhelm Norway with goodness right now?

  3. let me re-phrase that – Norway has suffered a terrible tragedy. An evil thing has happened to them. How can we offer them goodness to help them overcome this evil with?

    Also, the liturgy is beautiful and very appropriate and helpful. Thank you.

  4. Thanks.

    I think it can be summed up by this quote:

    “We will stand by our democracy. The answer to violence is more democracy, more humanity.” — Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian Prime Minister

  5. That is a most excellent quote. And a response i admire greatly.

  6. […] since I found myself standing before the congregation as a “community leader” to talk about the headline news from Norway.  And yet, here I find myself once more.  It is a strange place to be as people look […]

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