CWS invites you to fast and pray for Ukraine and for peace this Friday and every Friday through Lent.
We can do more than follow the reports of people in danger and on the move. In prayer and fasting, we can express our support for the people of Ukraine and our longing for peace.
Please join us in this initiative started by a group in Dunedin. If you are doing something for Ukraine, please let us know so we can courage others. We may not be able to meet with each other but we can pray and fast together. Messages can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted on Facebook.
Donations to the Ukraine Crisis Appeal will help local members of ACT Alliance respond to people in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. ACT Alliance is providing food, water, bedding, shelter, healthcare and psychosocial support. We are grateful to the many people who have already given so generously.
We are Ukraine
It is important that we keep informed about the war in Ukraine, and attempt to enter into the human tragedy that is being enacted before our eyes. Yet it is also disempowering and dispiriting, in the literal sense of that word, to be a mere onlooker. This is no TV drama. Real people are suffering utterly terrible things. Other real people are planning a campaign which sends bombs and missiles down on everything from apartment blocks to maternity hospitals.
So what do we do, what can we do, we who are so far away, we who hold none of the levers of power? This is Lent, when we walk with Jesus of Nazareth towards Jerusalem. Radical evil was rampant then, too. And we know there are no easy answers.
Traditionally prayer and fasting have been an essential part of the Christian armoury. They both take us into the heart of the suffering and lead us beyond it. We are planning this modest fast every Friday as a way of bringing our bodies as well as our minds into play. Fasting disrupts the usual pattern of our day, and gives us a tiny insight into the total disruption of the lives of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, children torn apart from their mothers and fathers, and seeing things no child should see.
It is wonderful to observe the response of Polish and German folk among others opening up their homes to those in flight. By fasting we can open up our hearts. The money saved from our usual meals can go to CWS or other aid agencies. WE CAN DO SOMETHING.
It has been such a privilege to get to know some of our Ukrainian neighbours here, and to stand in solidarity with them. One small gesture is that in Dunedin we are wearing armbands which read: WE ARE UKRAINE. Fasting cements the link with Ukraine. To do without solid foods for one day is a tiny thing. The Kingdom, however, is all about mustard seeds.
We look forward to hearing from all participants what the fasting has meant for you, what songs, gestures, new initiatives it has generated. We hope and pray that this war will not drag on too long, but the signs are not good, so we may be joining you on Fridays for some considerable time.
Heinke and Peter Matheson
March 16, 2022
Photo Credit: ACT Alliance/FCA/Antti Yrjönen