PAUSE FOR THOUGHT ON…UKRAINE BY ARCHBISHOP STEPHEN COTTRELL
Kyiv is a European city, the 17th largest.
It’s a popular destination for stag dos and hen parties. Only 2 1/2 hours from London.
There’s great shopping.
It’s packed with culture and history.
Last Thursday, Russia started bombing it. Over the weekend there was fighting in the streets.
Putin is invading Ukraine. He doesn’t want it part of Europe. He opposes the freedoms we cherish, like the right to travel, to vote, to choose how we are governed.
We are always frightened by news of conflict in the world. This is more frightening, because it’s happening in Europe, on our doorstep.
The peace we established in Europe – and have largely kept – since 1945, and the hope of greater freedom in Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall, has been shattered by Putin’s barbarous and illegal invasion.
How should we respond?
Well here’s three things all of us can do -Be prepared to make sacrifices ourselves. Sanctions on Russia will also affect us. We have to be ready to pay that price. Offer generous humanitarian aid. Just think for a moment what it’s like to be a young family living in the middle of Kyiv at the moment, sheltering from bombs in metro stations, fearing for the future. We must offer help. Be ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees into our country. And, make it easier for them to come.
And, for me, there’s a fourth. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I will be praying.
Yes, for an end to the madness of war and a withdrawal of Russian forces; but also because we people of faith believe prayer changes things, beginning with ourselves.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, ‘Your kingdom come’, Lord, not the kingdoms of the world. ‘Your will be done’, not the will of despots and tyrants.
Prayer helps us to see things differently; changes our perspective; helps us love our neighbour - our neighbours in Ukraine and Russia; strengthens our resolve.
Because Jesus doesn’t just ask us to be peace lovers – that’s relatively easy. He says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
By doing these three things – maybe all four - we can begin to support Ukraine. We can begin to make peace.