RESPONDING TO THE EVENTS IN UKRAINE
Dear Christ Church,
I’m sure you have found yourself disturbed, as I have been, over the events unfolding in Ukraine. There are some circumstances in national or world affairs that are so complex that it seems dangerous or foolish to make moral judgments on them too quickly. What is happening in Ukraine right now, however, does not feel like one of those instances. It seems a clear case of evil and injustice.
Vladimir Putin is assaulting a sovereign state with the intent of taking it over. His violent campaign is resulting in the loss of precious lives and suffering and disruption beyond measure. What we rightly abhor about rape, theft, or murder on an individual level is now being perpetrated on the citizens of Ukraine on a vast systemic scale. It is an abuse of power – the sort of striking overreach the prophet Nathan condemned in King David (2 Samuel 12:1–13) but on a much larger societal canvas.
This Sunday, we’ll have the chance to pray together about this matter and I invite you to join us. I’ll also be closing out our series on The J Word with a reflection on God’s call to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly” (Micah 6:8). The sermon focus will not be on Ukraine, but I do think this Bible passage has something to say to us about current events. It seems to me that in these circumstances…
- Acting justly means insisting that what the President of Russia has done be strenuously confronted, condemned and repented of (as in, reversed). Let’s pray for collaboration and unity among U.S. and world leaders in bringing to bear the combination of influences that can achieve that outcome.
- Loving mercy means praying for protection and relief for the elected leaders, many vulnerable people and freedom-fighters of Ukraine; for the care and witness of the Church there (70% of Ukrainians self-identify as Christian); for the safety of the Russian citizens protesting the actions of their government; and for the strength and supply of aid workers moving to offer help.
Please know that I’ve asked our Missions team to identify a partner through whom Christ Church can channel a special grant aimed at helping to relieve suffering in Ukraine.
- Walking humbly probably means not riding too high a horse in the present moment, given the fact that we as individuals and a nation have our own sins to repent of too. If this letter feels overly elevated in that sense, my apologies. I am sorrowing, as perhaps you are, over the rise of yet another conflict in a world already filled with too many.
In the last days of history, said Jesus, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars… Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6–7). Such realities appropriately upset us. They can also move us to turn to Christ and redouble our efforts to be His constructive servants. Thank you for joining me in praying and working for the further coming of His kingdom in the many places it is needed.
With hope in the Prince of Peace,
Rev. Dr. Daniel D. Meyer
Christ Church | Oak Brook & Butterfield
In this world you will suffer. Be brave. I have overcome the world.
– John 16:33