A reflection by Rev’d Morna
At the time of writing I am almost frozen at the news of Russia’s invasion to Ukraine - Europe's darkest hours since World War II, as some are saying. Having seen what President Putin is telling his country about the reason for the invasion, and what President Zelenskkiy has told the people of Ukraine as sirens blare in the background I am struck by how elusive the truth can be when people of power appear so compelling.
Sometimes, even though we are told to remain calm and stay home, our instincts take over. I cannot begin to imagine what our fellow sisters and brothers in Ukraine must be going through physically and emotionally - I am fortunate enough to not have any point of reference in my lifetime which would help me to understand - but I stand alongside them in prayer, and I ask you to do the same.
In his Thought for the Day on Radio 4 this week, Archbishop Justin Welby said:
"To wake up to the news of war is terrible.
To wake up to its reality is orders of magnitude worse.
Shakespeare refers to war as chaos - the loosing of the dogs of war - and calls for one of his characters to cry out the warning about what it means.
Those in the Ukraine will be thinking about their relatives on the front lines, or the friends on the front lines. We are thinking, where is it going to go next? Politicians are thinking, what do we do?
In all of the thinking, in all of the responses, there is the great uncertainty which is the worst enemy of good decisions. Uncertainty leads to fear, fear leads to overreaction. How do we react well? How do politicians in the cloud of war, not really knowing what’s going on, but knowing they have no opportunity to wait – how do they make up their minds?
They will rightly call for all of us, and for themselves, to have resolution, courage, determination, a willingness to sacrifice whatever is necessary in order to ensure that peace may come and justice may be done.
Peace and justice. They often seem to contrast, and yet they are opposite sides of the same coin.
We seek peace and justice, and that must end with those involved in conflict not having solutions imposed on them but finding for themselves the way forward to reconciliation and peace.
Right at the end of his life, Jesus Christ, on the eve of his crucifixion, spoke to his disciples and he said something very memorable. ‘In the world you will have trouble, but do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.’
For me and for many of faith, the great certainty in the world, the only certainty, is that we know that God does not change. Let us find our resolution, our peace, our certainty not by screwing up our courage, but in the knowledge of the eternal arms that hold us.
May God be with those who suffer today."
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine as “an act of great evil”.
They are urging Christians to make this Sunday 27 February a special day of prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for peace.
They are also supporting a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday.
I encourage all of us to light a candle at 6pm on Sunday evening in prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for that peace.
Also, as we begin our lenten journey together in our Ash Wednesday services this week, I encourage you to enter into the global day of fasting and prayer for peace, and we will be leading you in those prayers during our services.
In the meantime, continue to remember before God those who suffer today.