During this season of Lent, the Lutheran pastor and I have alternated offering services on Wednesday nights. One week we have soup supper at our church and she leads. The following week we have supper at her church and I lead. Each week has had a different theme paired with a scripture. This week my passage was from Philippians 4:8-9: 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
But the topic this scripture was linked to was justice and peace in the midst of violence. I pondered how in the world I would relate those two things, especially after weeks now of watching as Ukraine suffers unimaginable destruction, unfathomable loss. But then I began to think of the videos I had seen of various Ukrainian musicians playing their instruments in the midst of bombed out buildings, their surroundings littered with the carnage of war. I recalled an image of a group gathered in a shelter in prayer. There was one video of refugees dancing when they reached a country that welcomed them with food and toys for the children. The most touching one was of a Ukrainian child, who had reached another country, drawing flowers on the sidewalk with chalk. She said “This is how I calm myself.” She was eight.
I spoke that night of how “thinking on these things,” the lovely things, the admirable acts, enables us to respond to the ugliness, the greed, the hate and all that grows out of it in this world, with a spirit that seeks to uplift. Mr. Rogers said to “look for the helpers.” When we do, we are often inspired to “join the helpers…..be the helpers.” May it be so.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Friends! Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support! From the first day of the vile attack of Russian Nazis on my country, I have been in the ranks of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine. Ordinary Ukrainians are fighting in our unit, not professional ones – managers, drivers, musicians, teachers. Although it’s not easy for us, since there is a lot missing in the squad, we believe that good will always triumph over evil, and we put all our strength into it! Glory to Ukraine!