A prayer for all those affected by the attack in Nice

News of last night's terror attack in Nice has shocked and saddened people throughout the world.

Candles
Candles photographed by Niklas Morberg.

The Moderator of the General Assembly, Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, has written to Emmanuel Cocher, the French Consul General in Edinburgh, to express his condolences. It is just a few short months since Mr Cocher attended a service at St Giles Cathedral where the victims of the attacks in Paris last November were remembered.

"I write to express shock and sadness on behalf of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to you and your compatriots. Like many others listening to the news this morning and hearing of the terrible events in Nice, I am appalled at this further dreadful attack faced by the people of France in recent months. A joyful occasion of celebration was turned into a scene of horror. Please be assured of my own prayers and those of the members of the Church of Scotland at this very sad time for France."

Our World Mission Council has also written to their colleagues in the United Protestant Church in France. Council Secretary Ian Alexander says:

"We are again in shock and sadness at the horrors in Nice and the terrible events unleashed against innocent people enjoying the Bastille Day celebrations. Again, too soon after such previous atrocities, I want to express our deep sorry and sadness at the loss of life, and recognise the feelings of threat, anxiety and instability that such attacks leave. Please be assured of the solidarity of the Church of Scotland with the Eglise Protestante Unie de France, and our concern, love, and prayers for the church and all the people of France after these terrible events."

Messages of support have also been contributed by people across the church on social media. Former Moderator Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood announced she would mark the attack during today's special service marking the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre at Cathcart Old Parish Church.Dr Hood told her Twitter followers “We will light a candle for the victims in Nice at our Srebrenica Memorial event."

On Facebook, Rev Jonathan Fleming from Erskine, who created a well received social media campaign for peace last November, said "How much more can this country take?! Thoughts and prayers for the people of Nice, as well as all affected by mindless acts of violence."

To help people seeking to pray for those affected, we are republishing the following prayer from Very Rev Dr Angus Morrison, who wrote it after the Paris attacks, in hope that it will offer some comfort at this difficult time.

'Turn away from evil and do good; strive for peace with all your heart'

(Psalm 34:14, Good News Version)

God of the suffering,

our prayers this day are for all who suffer

and especially this day for the people of Nice

in their pain and grief

in the midst of evil.

We pray for parents grieving the loss of their children;

children mourning the loss of their parents;

neighbours stricken by the loss of friends;

lovers torn apart through shocking violence.

We pray for those who today begin the long road to recovery:

those deeply injured and fighting for life;

those who have witnessed unspeakable horrors;

those who heroically sought to save lives
and those already working to rekindle the embers of hope.

God of the suffering,

our prayers this day are for all who strive for peace

and for all those who are especially fearful this day,

those who don't know which way to turn,

those who fear being unjustly blamed.

We pray for peace makers

not the empty peace of keeping warring sides apart

but the deep peace in which enemies embrace

the peace of your community of love,

the peace of your Son,

the Prince of Peace.

Amen.