There are no words enraged enough to write about the horrific devastation in Ukraine!
There are no words angry enough to write about the devastating loss, the despondent people, the frightened children!
There are no words incendiary enough to decry a violent, inhumane Russian military or the power-hungry, evil man that commands them!
There are no words poweful enough to condemn what happened today: that at least 50 people were killed and around 100 injured in a Russian rocket attack on the Kramatorsk train station. The station was being used to evacuate civilians from eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region. At least five children were killed in the attack.
There are not enough words to intercede in prayer and lament for a nation destroyed, with a wasteland left behind. Not enough words to cry out for peace. Not enough words to whisper in mourning for the Ukrainian people and their children who have been killed, wounded, and forced to leave their homeland. When will wars be over?
Of course, butterflies will still be beautiful after war, but what do we do in this season of war? How do we help? How should we pray? Where do we go to search for hope for the despondent people of Ukraine? How do we help repair Ukraine’s ruined cities? Of all the sources of hope we could seek, this passage of scripture, Isaiah 61: 1-4, always offers me a sense of new hope amidst devastation.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
God of mercy, Prince of Peace
help us to listen to your holy voice,
a voice that speaks of peace to all people,
and in this moment, to the despairing people of Ukraine.
Let the sound of your voice resonate within us,
until a whisper becomes a shout
which cannot be ignored.
Move us with your love,
so that our actions echo your peace,
so that we may offer compassion and comfort to the Ukrainian people, brought low by conflict.
Comfort them, God,
with your peace that is beyond understanding,
beyond all conflict,
stronger than war’s destruction.
Fill us with your hope, O Lord, and
let peace begin with us.
Quiet the fear and hatred that divides us
as we live into your calling to “repair the ruined cities” in our world,
grace us, in your mercy, with courage and hope,
so that we may see beyond the dark clouds of war, a true and lasting peace;
so that we may see that beyond destruction, there is restoration;
so that we may see that beyond death, there is life everlasting and eternal.
We offer this prayer, O God, with heavy hearts,
Lamenting the evils of war,
longing for a fresh breeze of peace by Spirit wind,
Through Christ our Lord, the eternal Prince of Peace. Amen.
Hear this message of peace offered by the Harlem Boys’ Choir.