Our worship today is being led by our friend Scott Wheeler. Scott writes:
This week has brought the sad news of the invasion of Ukraine. There are no
simple answer to the problems this presents us, either as countries or as
individual Christians. Today we think of the choices and challenges we must
Our first reading is taken from the Sermon on the Plain, at Luke 6:39-49
39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind
man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not
above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be
like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your
brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the
speck that is in your eye’, when you yourself do not see the log
that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of
your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck
that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree
bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For
figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked
from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure
of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil
treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do what I tell you?
47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I
will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a
house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when
a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not
shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who
hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the
ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it,
immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Now we hear of a war that should never have happened, in II Samuel 10:1-5, 11:1,
After this the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son
reigned in his place. 2 And David said, “I will deal loyally
with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with
me.” So David sent his servants to console him concerning his
father. And David’s servants came into the land of the Ammonites.
3 But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do
you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is
honouring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to
search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?” 4 So
Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each
and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent
them away. 5 When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for
the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Remain at
Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.”
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle,
David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And
they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David
remained at Jerusalem.
26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the
royal city. 27 And Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I
have fought against Rabbah – moreover, I have taken the city of
waters. 28 Now then gather the rest of the people together and
encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it
be called by my name.” 29 So David gathered all the people
together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it. 30
And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of
it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and
it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of
the city, a very great amount. 31 And he brought out the people
who were in it and set them to labour with saws and iron picks
and iron axes and made them toil at the brick kilns. And thus
he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the
people returned to Jerusalem.
When the going gets tough, the tough… do what?
Lord have mercy.
For many years, we hoped that there might be peace between the nations. We hoped that differences might be settled through the United Nations, or through trade or diplomatic pressure. We hoped that the days of brute force might be over: that the small nations would fear intervention by the large, and that the large nations would have more sense. We knew that there is greed and hate in the world, but we hoped that everyone had too much to lose by going to war.
Christ have mercy
Have mercy on those involved in the invasion of Ukraine, whether they are Ukrainians who are losing their homeland, Russian troops, people of Donbas, or their leaders. We know there is no painless way out. We know that simple, easy answers are so often useless. We do not pretend that there is no distinction in who is right and who is wrong, but we ask your mercy, your guidance, and your protection for all. Bring justice and peace: show us what we should be doing for justice and peace.
Lord have mercy
Guide our leaders. Give them the wisdom to find the right path. Give them the courage to seek the common good, accepting that their own countries may have to pay a heavy price to bring peace. May they have the vision to look beyond this day, this month, this year, to seek lasting peace and justice. May they have the humility to pray for you guidance.
Though we are scattered, we are one body. Let us remember this as we say in the
words of St Paul:
May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of
the Holy Spirit be with you all.