As I write this, news bulletins are coming through from Ukraine where the devastating conflict seems to be escalating. The death toll is rising – it is heart breaking to watch. What can we do? We can pray for a change of heart in those who are being aggressors and we can let the oppressed know that we support them. We can donate to charities which are on the ground and we can be welcoming to those who are exiles.
Above all, it is important that we do not lose hope. On the first Good Friday there was an eclipse – it seemed to Jesus’ followers that everything that they had hoped for had come to an end with his death – but on Easter Sunday they met their Risen Lord. This changed their perspective on life completely even though it did not change the reality of day to day practicalities for them. Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide them. In this time of fear and uncertainty let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide all hearts and minds.
As we approach the end of Lent and the events of Holy Week and Easter I’d like to share with you some verses of a poem written by Bruce Gulland that I have found helpful. It is entitled Lent Ukraine Poem
Lent is with us now, but something else distracts and occupies
Our hearts and minds, another land, where trauma bites……
A place of churches, homes and farms and factories, I little knew
Its history till now, a place the world’s concern is pointed to
A land of plains and golden spires and crosses carries now the scar
Of brutal conflict, while a world looks on in horror from afar,
But now the Lenten season makes me stop and wait and slow and pause
And think, is any simmering conflict down to me, am I the cause?
It urges me to strip back, change tack, take my cross, the desert way
Examine what is flawed or wrong in what I think and do and say
And take a cue from those whose faith sustains them in their hour of need
And let it be for me a flame of hope, of courage fresh, a seed.