St Thomas Blog

Statement and Prayers for peace in Ukraine

Statement and Prayers for peace in Ukraine

Sunday 27th February 2022

The following statement was read this morning at St Thomas by the Rector:

I thought I ought to say something in response to the war and crisis in Ukraine, and also react to that weird feeling that we are going about our daily business with its normal quarrels and irritations, and then suddenly see foreign bombs falling on a capital city and people hiding in underground stations.

The traditional Lenten disciples which we begin this week on Ash Wednesday are a useful prompt: prayer, fasting and almsgiving, almost like weapons in the Christian armoury.

Prayer sees us in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and all those in Russia and elsewhere who are protesting for peace. We are able to pray for peace, even if sometimes there is a sneaking suspicion that we are also praying for violence against our enemies. We are in solidarity also with one another here more locally. We know that we can't do very much about Ukraine in practical terms, but our minds may be changed here and now in how we react with families and friends, neighbours and strangers - kindness, compassion and love to them.

Fasting is about giving things up. Even here on the extreme west of Europe, we may be called to give things up because we support the Ukrainians. If we approve of sanctions, it may cost us in our pockets - in our fuel bills and our food. How far do we go in this respect? And if God forbid the situation worsens, there may be more fasting and challenge.

Almsgiving or works of charity encompass our gifts to those who cannot easily here afford higher prices for food as a result of this crisis. It is our gift and labour around the Community Larder. It's also our attitude to and generous welcome of refugees - those who look like us and those who don't; our sharp questions to a government which has often been hostile to refugees.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are encouraging us to support the call of Pope Francis that this Ash Wednesday is a special day of prayer and fasting for peace. So I encourage you to attend the morning Eucharist here at 10 o'clock or the Zoom service in the evening. And to remember that our faith is based on the hope that love casts our fear, and that in Jesus we have the witness that resurrection triumphs over death.

Fr David 27.2.22

Prayers and Liturgy from the Church of England may be found here.

A poem about the bombing of Mariupol by Karen Hedges a parishioner can be read here.