A message for our students.
We are all shocked and saddened by the terrorist attacks that took place in Christchurch on Friday 15 March. We feel the weight of the pain of all those involved, especially those in the Muslim communities.
We also feel the burden of care by professionals involved in the recovery. We know that one of our own graduates was one of the first on the scene of these horrific attacks. His courage and compassion is an example to us all and we stand with him going to the aid of those in distress.
It is hard, even impossible, to make sense of these events. How might we frame our response? The
question in the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37 provides a helpful framework: “who is my neighbour?” Our response, surely, is that all those impacted by these events, those of all faiths and of none, are our neighbours.
We might also find our own faith challenged by these evil events. Lament is, helpfully, part of our Scripture; it is part of the faith story of all the saints, across time and across the world. The plaintive cry “O Lord, O Lord, why have you forsaken me?” which we find in the Psalms (Psalm 22:1) and in the words of Christ himself (Matthew 27:46), echoes across the experiences of all those who have wondered where God is in the face of unbelievable suffering. And in our despair there is also a claim, a confession: “but this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
It is my prayer that you might know this truth to be yours too. I pray that even, and perhaps especially, when we cannot feel the presence of God, or we wonder why he allows such suffering, we can hold onto His faithfulness. We can know, as his disciples found out, that He is in our boats in the storm (Mark 4:35-41). In that we find peace and hope, which sits at heart of the Christian message. We read in Revelation 21:3-4:
As a BTI community we want to support each of you in response to this tragedy. I will be visiting
Christchurch to visit our staff and students there and I will be in touch separately with those students about that. On our team here we have specialists who can help you, or recommend those who can. Please reach out to us if you want someone to talk to, pray with, and ask questions of. We will also continue to communicate with you about ways we want to further support you at this time.
Please know that as a BTI team we pray for each of you and are journeying with you.
Dr Andrew Butcher
CEO and Dean