The First Sunday in Lent
March 6, 2022
Much of the world is rightly admiring the courage of the Ukrainian people, especially President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as they resist the criminal Russian invasion of their homeland. Likewise, it is encouraging to see the European Union and nations around the globe coming together in condemnation of the unprovoked Russian aggression. Still, the death and destruction unleashed by a larger nation against a small neighbor is deeply disturbing and painful to watch. How do we begin to process what we are seeing?
Suppose you were a priest, or a Levite, or a Samaritan traveling on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho (Luke 10:25-37). You come across a scene. No, it’s not a man who fell among thieves and is now lying in the road half dead. Actually, you get there as the crime is taking place before your eyes. What should you do? Pass by on the other side? Jump in and try to stop the fight, risking a much larger conflict? Shout encouragement to the victim from a safe distance? None of the options seem very good.
As followers of Jesus, one option before us is to pray always and not lose heart. At the Sunday Forum this week, parishioner and NYU professor Nicholas Birns will be presenting a timely session on Ukrainian Christianity. Nick will give an overview of the major Christian traditions in Ukraine. How do they pray? What traditions have shaped them? How is faith – including Jewish and Muslim contributions – strengthening the people of Ukraine in the current crisis? Read below for more information about this week’s Sunday Forum, on Zoom and in the Reception Room at 10 am.
Finally, if we are to pray for the people of Ukraine, many of us might admit to feeling inadequate to the task. What good does prayer do, and how do we even go about it? Beginning next Wednesday March 9th at 6:45 pm in the Reception Room, and continuing on March 16, 23, and 30, the Rev. Harry Krauss and I look forward to leading a book discussion on Be Still and Know: A Study in the Life of Prayer, by the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey. The book is easily available online and in book stores. A good group has already signed up, and if you’d like to join us, please send me an email and let me know.
See you in church. For the first time in two years the choir will be processing from the Honor Room. Don’t miss it!