The Lenten Journey
News Alert: Feb. 25, 7:30 a.m. EST
U.S. fears Ukraine’s capital could soon fall as Russian forces press closer. Kyiv was jolted by predawn explosions as air raid sirens blared and people huddled for shelter in deep subway stations.
Surreal. How does one write a nice words for a church newsletter when the war in Europe is hanging over the world like the nuclear cloud of Chernobyl did nearly four decades ago? Your pastor’s heart? Sad. (The Atlantic advised Americans to prepare for Russian Cyberattacks so add fear to my sad.)
I pray for civilians in Ukraine, including those in the Ukrainian Church who have committed to active nonviolent resistance to Russian aggression. I pray for the Russian citizens who are protesting Putin’s choices. I pray for the de-escalation of violence. Everywhere. War and violence are never the answer. Do you believe that? What if Christians followed the teachings of Jesus?
May Christians consider a commitment to peace and nonviolence, as we enter into the season of Lent when we see so clearly how evil choices lead to suffering and death.
The Lenten journey is so important. It is important to give up something—at least for 40 days. It is important to have ashes imposed on our flesh (the last two years we did not feel the cross on our foreheads).
It is important to come together more during Lent. Our Lenten daily meditations book is wonderful, the new Vital Congregations class on Sunday mornings will help us keep moving into God’s dreams for Westminster; try studying the Lenten lectionary texts over your lunch hour at my house, and please try to come to our special liturgical services--Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday.
What if, for Lent, if we gave up all the things in our homes, minds, and hearts connected to violence? Think about that. The world needs the non-violent, enemy loving, peace of Christ. Let us pray.
Peace of Christ,