Last night’s prayer meeting was different in many ways. Most times at the midweek prayer meeting, there is a short Bible study/ exposition as well as three or four public audible prayers. Last night it was more important for people to pray both publically and privately for the many situations confronting us at this present time. There were five public prayers last night in both Gaelic and English, praying earnestly and with passion about the General Assembly and especially the theological forum debate later today, the forthcoming Faith Mission tent mission in North Harris, as well as the elderly and the sick in the Congregation. However the main focus of our prayer meeting last night was the terrible tragedy at Manchester Arena and especially the dreadful impact this has had on our own island community with the news now confirmed that Eilidh Macleod from Barra was among the dead and her friend Laura Macintyre seriously injured.
We hear of tragedies and they often seem so far away, too often we think we are remote from them here in the Western Isles. However when it comes close to home then it really does affect us. Several years ago now I found myself at the funeral in Ness of a man I had never met. His name was Gavin Cushny and he was working in the World Trade centre with Cantor Fitzgerald as a computer consultant on September 11th 2001 when the planes struck . His parents Rev Donald and Sybil Eales-White lived in South Dell Ness. Gavin was one of almost 3000 people killed by terrorists on 9/11, and attending his funeral on Habost machair Ness certainly brought home the awful reality of this notorious day in American history.
In the same way the events of Monday night 22nd May will live on in the hearts and minds of the people of Manchester and Barra forever. In their heartache and pain we offer our deep condolences and heartfelt prayers to the parents of Laura Macintyre and Eilidh Macleod and all those others devastated by this iniquitous attack on innocent young people. We feel this pain in Harris and throughout the islands too as we know that it could so easily be our young people who were at that concert.
We will continue to pray for our neighbours and friends in Barra and further afield that the God of all comfort may bring healing and blessing to hearts minds and families so cruelly torn apart .
Nuair a shiùbhlas tu tro na h‑uisgeachan bidh mise maille riut; agus tro na h‑aibhnichean cha tig iad tharad; nuair a dh’imicheas tu tron teine, cha loisgear thu, agus cha dèan an lasair greim ort. Oir is mise an Tighearna do Dhia, Tì naomh Israeil, d’fhear-saoraidh: thug mi an Eiphit ann ad èirig; Etiopia agus Sèba air do shon. ( Isaiah 43: 2-3)