God of peace and justice,
we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen.
– Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury
and Archbishop Stephen Cottrell of York, Church of England
We are now two weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This morning I woke up to news of the bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, another sign of the increased deaths among civilians. On February 27 Lydia Bucklin shared how she broke the news to her children when the fighting first began. How do we continue the conversation when the fighting is ongoing and so many things are beyond our control?
I actually found myself listing all the things out of my control, which as you might imagine, was both scary and anxiety producing. Pushing the list aside, I acknowledged that while I can’t control the war in the Ukraine, I can control my response to it.
My first instinct is to reconnect to God, asking for God’s light and will to shine in such a bleak place. If you are looking for prayer resources, I recommend this page where Bishop Carlye Hughes of the Diocese of Newark has compiled them in one place.
After connecting with God, I still want to DO something. Might you feel that way as well? If so, here are a few things to do:
- Donate: I am partial to Episcopal Relief and Development: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/. You can support their work financially online and also include this insert in your church bulletin this weekend to encourage others to follow your lead.. (and it seems that every website I go to lately has a place to donate for Ukraine, so please donate wherever you feel most comfortable).
- Support Refugees: UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, estimates that over 2.3 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to neighboring countries since February 24. Here are three organizations providing critical services in Poland and other European countries currently receiving refugees from Ukraine: International Rescue Committee (IRC), UNICEF USA, World Central Kitchen
- Talk: Talk with your families (your parents and your children) about the war in the Ukraine. What are they thinking about this? Do they have other ideas of what to do? If this evolves into World War III, what will your family’s response be?
- Pray together: Using the prayers from Bishop Hughes page above or adapt this liturgy for Grieving a National Tragedy from Every Moment Holy II, offer God your sorrow, your discomfort with the uncertainty, and your trust that God remains present among the suffering.
How are you continuing to engage in the painful news from Ukraine?