(photo source: Radio Free Europe)
Our Common Humanity
I’ve just been telephoned by my friend Andris who lives with his family in Riga, the capital of Latvia. ). He told me of his anxiety about the situation in Ukraine.
What is happening there may well have implications for the three Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In comparison to Ukraine they are small countries and therefore, possibly more vulnerable. They are however, part of the EU which gives them added support and a sense of belonging to something which brings its own strength. They are also members of NATO which affords them some protection. However, Andris was still worried about what Putin will do after Ukraine and about the way he is destabilising the region.
So, alongside prayer for Ukraine (and Russia – especially those opposed to Putin), prayer for the Baltic countries and Poland is vital at this time.
As I listened to Andris It occurred to me that I will not be praying for a country but for a people.
For me, Latvia is Andris and his wife, 3 daughters and his mother. They are people I know and have shared hospitality with here in England. Andris works in Healthcare and a few years ago he spent some time with the NHS in our area. He worshipped with us and prayed with us. Over time I have got to know his family. They are real people. They lead good and quiet lives. They do not wage war on anyone.
I do not know anyone at present in the Ukraine, though I have known people previously. I do know people from Poland, the Czech Republic and other East European countries.
Many of us have links with people in other countries throughout the world, including some of our own families.
They are people, human beings like us. We share with them the time we are on Planet Earth. It doesn’t belong to any one of us and any rights we might have are ’common’ rights; ’allowed rights’. We are custodians of the earth and, other tenants in the Natural world of animals and fish and birds of the air, look to us for care of creation and not exploitation.
When we pray we hold all this fragility and vulnerability up to our Loving God, our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
So for me therefore, Latvia is not just a land mass but a place where people I know and love, live.
That is true for many of us. So whatever the conflict in the Ukraine will ultimately teach us, we can learn an important lesson straight away. Hold people and their countries in your love. And please remember that even if you don’t know anyone in The Ukraine, you do know that they are fellow humans with you and you are related to them in a common humanity under the care and love of God.
The International Prayer for Peace,.
Lead us from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love,
from war to peace,
Let peace fill our hearts,
our world, our universe.
Let us dream together, pray together, work together
to build one world of peace and justice for all.
We pray this in your Name, Lord God.