Call to Prayer and Action in Light of Recent Events
by Rev Ed Montano
By now we have all been made aware of the humanitarian crisis and the invasion and armed conflict in Ukraine. As if the world needed another devastating and tragic event after two years of dealing with a global pandemic, we now find ourselves under the threat of war that could extend beyond the Ukrainian borders. The international community has been swift in condemning the invasion of a country by another one.
As a church, it is incumbent upon us to, not only speak out against injustice and the power of sin, but also to be there for those in peril and those who anguish because of their inability to do anything about the conflict. In this specific case, this may mean organizing, or helping to organize, relief efforts for the people of Ukraine, both within the country and those who have fled the violence and are now refugees in other countries. It can also mean a financial contribution, working with other relief agencies such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, etc.
Canada’s population has many people with Ukrainian roots who may be experiencing stress and despair. It is our duty to be there in whatever way we can to assist and support our Ukrainian sisters and brothers. Just as important as material or financial support, as clergy we are called to be spiritual leaders and accompany the people in our communities in their time of need. We can make ourselves available to be with them, walk with them, or just listen to them without saying much if that is what they need. We must be careful and sensitive and refrain from, however well intended, platitudes, and also refrain from demonizing entire populations or countries, thus avoiding the polarization (them and us) that does not help, but rather hinders a desire for peace.
Above all these days we are called to work for peace, to heal and reconcile broken hearts and broken relationships with God and with one another, to be God’s heart to love, to be God’s arms to embrace, to be God’s voice of love and mercy in a world that shows very little of it. We are called to show and bring God’s love to the world…we are called to be peacemakers.
As people of faith, we can never underestimate the power of love and the power of prayer. It goes without saying that we ask you to pray for an end of hostilities, for peaceful resolution to this and all conflict, and of paramount importance, to pray for God’s love for all human beings and for the rest of creation to be felt and understood. We pray this prayer by being the visible sign of God’s love for the world, by being there for our suffering brothers and sisters. Let us open our hearts and minds to allow God’s Spirit within us to move us into action as God’s own instruments of love and mercy.
In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, let us take this prayer to heart and pray to God thus:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Let us pray it, live it, and walk alongside God’s children with this prayer as our guiding light.