Rev. Steve Harrison – Prayers for Ukraine

From Rector Steve
March 2022

Dear friends

I am sure you share in my disbelief and sadness that the ongoing conflict Russia is imposing on the people of Ukraine. I have commented to a few people that I battle to believe that this is happening. It’s not that I can’t process the facts, it is that I find it hard to understand that in this modern era one country would be so brash as to invade another in this manner.

The outrage which this massive incursion is inspiring is entirely justified and I hope that the inconveniencies which sanctions will bring us will be seen as a cost we pay for their freedom.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is a huge inspiration and his contribution to peace through tireless challenge and encouragement to Western governments has surely brought in massive quantities of material that would otherwise not have been forthcoming. Material is nothing without the will of the people to fight, and he has inspired his people and others to offer a heroic resistance which is revealing the weakness of the Russian military machine. His inspiring example in the face of grave threat must call us to raise our eyes to look for hope in the bleakest of situations. One of my hopes is the next time the West invades a sovereign nation on the flimsiest of pretexts we remember this hour and are equally outraged.

I’ve heard of someone who’s faith has been shattered by this invasion and the suffering of those people. It does beg the question, as any situation of sufferings does – where is God, what is God’s culpability here, if God has the power to act and doesn’t then isn’t he equally to blame? These questions challenge us and our faith, and they are questions that remain no matter the scale of the suffering. The sad truth is that this isn’t the first or last time that people will suffer needlessly and around the world in every moment of everyday people suffer in some way.
Faith isn’t the denial of suffering, but the choice to live in hope and joy while facing the stark truth of the world around us. Faith looks at suffering and smiles through the tears. If we have no faith and no hope then the suffering and evil win and we are left with nothing but the desolate ashes of loss.

We pray for the people of Ukraine, that in the midst of pain and loss and fear they would remain hopeful, that moments of joy would seek them out. We pray for courage in the face of great adversity. We pray for the failure of the Russian war machine. We pray that the light and love of Christ would overwhelm the darkness. We pray for world leaders that they would remain steadfast.We pray for President Volodymyr Zelensky, that God would keep him and his family safe. We pray for President Vladimir Putin, that the Holy Spirit would break his heart with the revelation of his sin. We pray for ourselves, to remain faithful when we feel weak and powerless.

If you would like more information or simply to be in touch, please contact one of the Team clergy:

Rev Steve Harrison: general queries but particularly events in the Stanleys, Selsley, Frocester, Moreton Valence and Whitminster:

Rev Liz Palin: Frampton-on-Severn, Arlingham, Fretherne, Framilode and Saul:

Rev Dave Bishop: Stonehouse, Standish, Eastington, Haresfield: