• A couple of years ago, we were introduced to Covid. We still don’t understand it and it still spreads, and kills. In this case, the world has banded together (at least much of it) to fight back. To take care of the sick; to try to save the dying; to find a cure. All of that is born from love. That’s God’s work!
  • In war, it’s just the opposite. In war its God’s precious children killing each other. No virus needed. War is the ultimate failure of humanity. War is all of our sin brought to the surface so that we can justify the slaughter of innocent people – conveniently called “collateral damage” by the ones ordering the actual killing.
  • We still haven’t learned that the ones doing the killing are also being injured by their actions. We were not created to kill each other. God didn’t make us so that we can shoot it out and bomb each other until the last little remnant of humanity remains. No, that’s humans at work. And we’re learning that the men and women on the front lines are also being harmed from within by carrying out orders to attack and kill fellow human beings. Everybody gets hurt when we fight each other.
  • We must always be aware that our most powerful sin, as described in Genesis 1, is wanting to be like God. We all are “infected” with this dis-ease. We want to rule over others. Sin makes us that way. We want to exert power over others. Sin makes us that way. We want what others have. Sin makes us that way. Basically, we want what we want and we want it now! So don’t get in my way or I’ll have to move you out of the way. Sin makes us that way. Sin is the absence of God. We need more God.
  • If you want to see a modern-day re-enactment of the Genesis story of Cain and Abel, tune in to any 24-hour news station, sit back, and watch Cain killing Abel all over again. It never seems to end, because it never has. From the very first offspring of Adam and Eve, we have been resentful and jealous of one another, and have always, eventually, resorted to fighting to get what we want.
  • Russia isn’t the only country to ever roll into foreign cities and declare its intentions to conquer native people by force or by death. We, too, have a scarred history when it comes to conquering or controlling other people. We’re at our worst when we fight to diminish or extinguish a culture different from ours. But we also fight to protect our “precious and rare democracy, built upon the belief that all people are created equal and have a God-given unalienable right to freedom.” Most of us, it seems, believe that freedom is worth fighting for, and dying for. That alone is a powerful statement about freedom.
  • I haven’t seen a foreign superpower like Russia roll into another country with tanks, bombers, and militia in my adult lifetime. I have seen the U.S. military roll into towns and villages in Viet Nam to try to conquer them, with hundreds of thousands of victims. And I have watched the U.S. military later roll into Iraq, and Afghanistan, to conquer the enemies of freedom, with hundreds of thousands of victims, including many innocent civilians … mothers … children … even pets if they happen to be in the way. We are all a part of this. Freedom, as they say, isn’t free.
  • I’m not naïve enough to think that in order to protect that powerful right of freedom for all people that we wouldn’t need to fight for this way of life. Indeed, fighting for our way of life, alone, can explain much of the history of the world since Cain. But there is a big difference between fighting for people’s freedom, and fighting to exert control over people. They are moral opposites. And we’re still trying to learn the difference between the two.
  • I have read about the Russian tanks rolling into Poland, or Czechoslovakia, or Yugoslavia, but I never was able to watch it on TV. Today, we watch it on TV. And let’s be clear about what we’re watching; the forces of power in the world that want to suppress the freedom of others in order to increase their own power and wealth, are rolling into Ukraine to retake a country that has now tasted freedom and democracy, and doesn’t ever want to give it back.
  • In watching the Ukraine military, and especially the courageous civilians who have stayed to fight, we can see how valuable freedom is to people who have waited a long time for it. And we can see how far they are willing to risk their own lives in order to keep it for their children and hopefully, for generations to come. I wonder if we have yet learned that until all people are free, no one is free.
  • I understand the power of sin in our world. It affects all of us. We are weaker because of our sinful nature. But, on the other hand, we are God’s children. That gives us access to a power greater than our sin. Many of us, all around the world, of various colors, languages, homelands, customs, and faith traditions, are together building the Kingdom of God right now, right here in our midst, and in the shadow of war. Trust this; despite appearances on TV, there is always more love being expressed in these desperate and tragic circumstances than sin. Love always wins. And love will win in the end. But sometimes it’s the getting there that kicks me in the gut. Because until loves win, we end up with a lot of dead people.
  • What’s going on in Ukraine? The very worst of humanity is being poured out on the Ukrainian people. And … the very best of humanity is responding. As you watch the tanks and the Russian military move into Ukraine, pay close attention to all the love that is working in response. God’s love is more powerful than any force on earth. But even then, with all the love we can muster, tanks and guns still win battles. Children’s hospitals are still bombed. Suburban neighborhoods are still bombed. Roads and bridges are still bombed. Millions of refugees are fleeing for their lives. A president is pleading to the world for help. And we sit by and watch this invasion on TV.

What’s a Christian to do?

O Lord, come to our assistance. O God, make haste to help us.                                                                                   Praying for Peace,                                                                                                                                                             Pastor Bob