News from Taize about the shooting in Norway

News from Taizé by email

Sunday 23 July 2011

Taizé in solidarity with Norway

With the thousands of young adults gathered these days in Taizé, the brothers of the community have been praying in solidarity with the victims of the tragedy that has just struck Norway. Pastor Martin Junge, secretary general of the World Lutheran Federation, who is visiting Taizé this weekend, has been particularly associated with this prayer since the majority of Christians in Norway are Lutheran.

Brother Alois has sent the following message to Church leaders and to friends in Norway “With all our brothers in Taizé, we share in the tragedy that has struck Norway, for you know how dear your country is to us. Our hearts suffer and weep with those who are suffering. Bewildered by such a trial, we wish to be witnesses to the compassion of God, and through our prayer we wish to support you in your grief — the Church in Norway, so many young people whom we know, and all the inhabitants of your country.

In the church in Taizé, we entrusted all the victims to God, and I said this prayer: Christ Jesus, we entrust to you the victims of the attacks in Norway. In the face of the suffering of the innocent, we are at a loss. We turn to you and ask you from the depths of our heart: welcome those who died into your Kingdom, be close to their families and support those who attempt to comfort them in their grief.”

Pastor Olav Fykse-Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, and who is himself Norwegian, replied: “Dear brother Alois, dear friends in Taizé, Thank you so much for your words of comfort, your prayers and your love! This is so needed in times like this, and as I am on vacation in Norway these days I feel strongly the shock and the power of evil; but also the strength of the values and the solidarity of our democracy and our Christian and humanistic traditions. Even more so, when we learn that this man who has been arrested, has sympathies towards right-wing nationalism and Christian fundamentalism. Our work for a just peace becomes even more important in days like this.”

Two other testimonies received from Norwegians •

Marius: “With greetings from Helga Byfuglien, representing the bishops in Norway and the churches here. We will also use the prayer in Grefsen church tomorrow, where more than 500 young people will be gathered in prayer for a young man who is still missing; we fear the worst. But there is such a strong sense of community and fellowship in this situation full of grief and despair.” •

Angela: “Thank you for your mail. Our family is fine, but the nation is shocked by the cruelty of this man. He shot 84 young people and bombed the government offices with a big bomb. It is incredible. Now I am sitting in the church, talking with people and preparing the service for tomorrow. We need your prayers.”

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