Lifestyle & Human Interest

John Mayer Opens Tour with 'How Great Thou Art' Tribute to Christchurch Shooting Victims


On March 15, 2019, people from all over the world wept as they learned about the horrific shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Two different mosques were attacked while its members were participating in their Friday prayers. 50 people died; dozens more were injured.

It left many people in New Zealand and the worldwide Muslim community feeling vulnerable and unsafe.

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Much like the Texas church shooting in 2017 and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018, these horrific acts of violence are a shattering reminder that things are not how they should be and that evil exists.

Some people quickly used these events, including the most recent shootings in Christchurch, to support their political agendas, like gun control and discrimination.

But others, like John Mayer, took some time to pause and grieve the lives that were ended too soon.

Mayer’s 2019 tour of Australia and Asia began just a week after the shootings at the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Aware of the impact that the event had on his fans, he decided to open the tour a little differently than originally anticipated.


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A beautiful, profound night in Auckland NZ. ♥️?? ? @daniel

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He opened his tour with a beautiful tribute to people in Christchurch who had been impacted by performing the hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”

According to the New Zealand Herald, Mayer was joined on stage by New Zealand artist Bella Kalolo, who sang parts of the hymn in te reo — a Polynesian language spoken by the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori.

A kapa haka group also stood behind them and performed a traditional dance after Mayer and Kalolo finished singing.

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“Thank you for coming out under such heavy circumstances, it means a lot to me,” the American singer later told his fans.

Mayer’s performance is a perfect example of something Shaun Hair, the Executive Editor for The Western Journal, said the day of the Christchurch shootings:

“The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep. We must delay our anger and live for a moment in the grief of lives lost. We must reach for the trembling hand who has lost everything and hold it until the storm passes. We must give solace to those who are hurting and find it within us to feel their pain.”

Even though the attack happened two weeks ago, people in Christchurch are still grieving and trying to navigate a world that feels a little less safe than it did just a month ago.

We should still be praying for people in Christchurch and weeping alongside them.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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