I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon because I am heading off to Chicago tomorrow. This week is Spring Break for me – so I will be taking a break from commenting about resolutions; however, there is always something to share of importance for our lives in the Household of God! Once again, the headlines of our news call our attention to situations that should bring us to our knees. While I want to comment on the crisis in Ukraine, I am listening to the news about the search and rescue efforts for the missing Malaysian plane. Likely by the time this blog comes out, we will have more news of the outcome. Let us join in prayer for the families and friends of the passengers as they wait for answers.
Regarding this situation in Ukraine, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in conjunction with the bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, issued a call for peace and prayer for the people of Ukraine:
Ash Wednesday 2014
We have watched with dismay, along with the rest of the world, as tensions rise and peace is jeopardized in Ukraine. Recent dangerous developments in the Crimean region of the country put the lives of many innocent people at risk, and threaten peace and security far beyond that region of the world.
As Christians in the western tradition, Anglicans/Episcopalians and Lutherans today enter the season of Lent, a time of repentance. In the Ash Wednesday liturgy we repent of “our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty.” We cannot remain indifferent in the face of the injustice befalling the people of Ukraine, nor toward the potential suffering and cruelty further military intervention might bring.
In the name of the churches we serve, we join our voices in solidarity with those of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches in pleading for an end to military aggression in that land. We call on all of those involved—whether governments, movements, or individuals—to repent of aggression and violence, and turn instead to the way of peace through dialogue.
We also call upon the faithful people of our churches to pray throughout the season of Lent for wisdom, peace, and justice to prevail in Ukraine.
As we each practice our Lenten disciplines this year, let’s remember to pray for all people in lands where oppression and injustice are part of their everyday lives and especially hold the citizens of Ukraine in our prayers for peace.
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries. We pray for the people of Ukraine that your peace might reign in their land and that violence and oppression be thwarted. Forgive us for the times we go about our own business blind to the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world. Move us to speak out in their defense and act on their behalf. We ask through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Blessings for a holy Lent,
Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council