Take action & Pray for a miracle

March is coming in with a lambiness that meteorologists are saying could be record-breaking.  Wonder what the lion will look like in about 30 days? Why would I not simply accept the now, the beauty and the presence of a few days of open windows, walking in slow motion from the truck to the office door, driving with the windows down and the wind blowing freely?  I love the glass half-full perspective, some days it’s harder than others.

Saw the image of the line of tanks estimated at upwards of 40 miles, moving toward Kiev, the capital of Ukraine – having trouble getting that image out of my mind on this most beautiful series of days.  Women are staying to fight as well, only the men from 18-65 were expected to, women and younger people are staying too, as is the President of the Ukraine.  I don’t know what kind of President he is, but I hope I would have the courage of a leader who doesn’t ask more of their people than they are willing to do themselves.  I know it’s not that simple, but isn’t it?

Logic tells us that they are out-powered, out-resourced, out-(hu)manned, simply out-quantitied in every way, saving their independence is highly unlikely and lives will be lost – good lives, maybe bad lives, young lives and old lives; on both sides, lives will be lost.  I sent a message to my colleague and doctoral classmate Eduard, that my heart aches and breaks for and with him.  As a spiritual leader and Bishop in Russia, to navigate care and leadership, the prophetic and the pastoral, so very difficult.  Yet we are so grateful he is there . . . for just such a time as this.

The blatant and unapologetic caricature of un-reigned-in and unmitigated raw power is almost surreal in this 21st century – if it wasn’t so stupidly real, I would think it was a darkly-hued comedy meant to point out the irony of my sometimes all too naïve belief that human beings are intelligent enough not intentionally murder people in an unprovoked yet desperate need for notoriety to overcome obvious weakness and personal insecurity.  Clearly, I’m wrong.

So what do we do?  We pray.  We recommit our lives to our call of faith to be peacemakers.  What action does that take?  Note the special offering we are making available to offer gifts through our United Methodist connections with Ukraine.  We also have a group at Grace working to support re-homing refugees that arrived in Kansas City from Afghanistan, please watch weekly Grace Notes to see how you can help provide support.  There is also news forthcoming about the Good Faith Network, an ecumenical ministry working in Johnson County that Grace and our Annual Conference are supporting to confront the challenges of living in our area if you are on the edge or the brink of systemic injustice and poverty.  I truly believe intentionally working at being makers of peace in our local communities makes a difference in the spiritual strength of God’s Spirit working for peace across the world.

There have been so many prayers and offerings on FB and other social media sites that have spoken to me, perhaps this one by Ann Weems that Kyle spoke of yesterday in our chat, speaks to me most on this day, I hope for you too:

I No Longer Pray for Peace

On the edge of war, one foot already in,
I no longer pray for peace:
I pray for miracles.

I pray that stone hearts will turn to tenderheartedness,
and evil intentions will turn to mercifulness,
and all the soldiers already deployed will be snatched
out of harm’s way,
and the whole world will be astounded onto its knees.

I pray that all the “God talk” will take bones
and stand up and shed its cloak of faithlessness,
and walk again in its powerful truth.
I pray that the whole world might sit down together
and share its bread and wine.

Some say there is no hope,
but then I’ve always applauded the holy fools who never
seem to give up the scandalousness of our faith:
that we are loved by God . . .
that we can truly love one another.

I no longer pray for peace:
I pray for miracles.

-by Ann Weems-