Which of us could have predicted that this spring a very different “global crisis” would be replacing our daily diet of Covid and vaccination numbers? We have all found ourselves struggling with the graphic pictures and news from the daily Russian onslaught on the cities of Ukraine.
But even in the coverage we find signs of resolve, courage and determination. The baby born in the underground bomb shelter; the couple who went ahead with their wedding in their bombed-out city; the determination from the Ukraine city mayors in place after place not to give in; and the leadership from Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky.
In his “Thought for the Day” on Radio 4 on 24th February 2022, the day the Russian invasion began, Archbishop Justin Welby drew our attention to the final conversation that Jesus had with his closest followers, his disciples. Just before his death on the cruel cross (that we will be remembering on Good Friday), Jesus said, in anticipation of the hard times they were to face, ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
This is the Christian hope that shines out from Ukrainian men & women of faith in face of the brutality of war. The archbishop reminded us that God does not change. After the tragedy and defeat of the cross, Jesus rose again on that first Easter Day. This was victory over the forces of evil that brought peace and reconciliation.
So, what can we do for Ukraine? We can pray – for God’s intervention both in slowing and confusing the oppressor and in strengthening the resistance of the oppressed; we can give – to support those organisations who are working on the ground to help the millions of refugees; and we could open up our homes once refugees are allowed to come to the UK.
One practical way to help is to contact “Refugees at Home” [www.refugeesathome.org]. This is a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay.
And let us take heart because God is still in control. Neither the worldwide impact of Covid nor of Putin has taken Him by surprise.