Here is the text of our Community Prayers, shared at Box Hill Baptist Church this morning:
Today I want to invite you into a time of prayer, as guided reflection. I will mention a number of matters, and invite you to think and pray about them, in your own words, and you own time.
This week, we were all confronted by this amazing image, and the story of a huge building burning, and so many lives shattered, homes destroyed, and as yet we do not know how many dead.
Oh God we turn to you in prayer, about something that has stunned us all.
This image stands as a symbol of so many aspects of our lives.
It is so unexpected. So much happens to us, that we are not prepared for, not ready, not sure just how this happened.
We are confronted by the immense forces of nature: wind and water and fire. In the face of such things, we are so small, so helpless.
Here too there is great suffering. Loss; death; injury; grief.
Oh God, this too is just part of the story of our cities and our world: here, as always, it is the poorest who have suffered the most.
Lord, have mercy.
Here, too, so many good people help out, with amazing care and community service.
Lord, bless them.
Here, too, the authorities have ignored the warnings, the concerns expressed by local people, leaders and caring people: and they have felt left out, unwanted, and so much at risk. And now this.
Lord, have mercy.
Here, too, there is rising frustration, racial and political tension, and still more grief and fear.
Lord, heal and encourage, we pray.
O God, this building is so much like our world, at once a great achievement, a home for people, a place to be, to live, to love, to bring up children, to share joy and peace:
and yet, too, a place of fear and failure, of grief and great suffering.
We bring you our world, as also our own lives, our joys and our failings, our nation, which is also so wonderful, and yet also so deeply compromised in the way we treat the most needy, the most vulnerable, those in need of safe place to be;
and we bring you too our church: with all these dimensions as well: blessed with such gifts in the presence and power of your Spirit, yet also so much in need of your healing, forgiveness and renewal.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers. Let our cries come to you.
And by your grace enable us, too, to be part of your answer, your healing and hope for this world.