Dear Members and Friends of First Pres,
As the eyes of the world witness the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I feel compelled to write a word to you. Like so many, I have been terribly grieved to watch as families flee for safety, men and women take up arms, and the prospect of massive human causalities looms large. I feel a deep sense of dread unlike I have ever experienced in my lifetime.
This moment is reminiscent of September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. The difference is that we are not hearing about the events of the invasion days or weeks later. We are watching the destabilization of the world order unfold in real time. Intuitively, we all know the ramifications of this moment are going to reverberate for years to come. Therefore, how we react now matters, even from our vantage point here in the United States.
I have been greatly heartened by the outpouring of support for the Ukrainian people from around the world. Even in Russia, where protesting is an illegal and jailable offense, members of the public have protested Vladimir Putin’s reckless decision to invade Ukraine.
Similarly, we have a duty as Christians to speak up and speak out about this act of unprovoked aggression as a church, as individuals and as a larger community. We have a duty to offer our resources to the Ukrainians who are being displaced and fleeing into the bordering countries of Europe. We have a duty to pray for the safety of the Ukrainians and hope that, by some miracle, interventions can stop this senseless bloodshed. We need to pray for wise diplomatic decisions by leaders of this country and other NATO countries in Europe.
Ultimately, I believe that more humans on this planet desire peace than war. To achieve that peace, we need to embrace Jesus’ teachings that instruct us regarding how love can triumph over hate. We have to believe that our God of unconditional love can prevail in the hearts of those bound and determined to cause pain and suffering in the world. My prayer is that God would hold up a mirror to Vladimir Putin so that he might recognize how his decisions are destroying the lives of millions of people.
Right now, there are Ukrainians who are praying that someone will come and help them. Remember, we as humans are the answer to those prayers. Let us do our part to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world for the Ukrainian people.
Rev. Alex Lang
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.