In the adult Sunday School class on February 27, Mike repeatedly called our lively discussion back to a critical question: “What does your faith say to you in times like these?” (I may not have quoted his words exactly) It is a sticky question but demands an answer from each of us as we watch the scene unfold before us in the Ukraine.
The question insists that we do not shirk from looking at what right behavior is as well as what is the right attitude. If Jesus is our model and also the “Prince of Peace,” under what circumstances, if any, are his followers justified in taking the life of another? And then there are questions that have to do with love: It is hard enough to love our neighbors, but how can I love
my enemies? Who is our neighbor? Who is our enemy? We were so forcefully reminded in our Sunday School class of the thousands in Russia who are bravely facing jail for voicing strong opposition to the violence in Ukraine. One Russian woman said: “I don’t want this war on my conscience for decades to come!”
Another question that surfaced on that Sunday was: What did Putin’s mother teach him when he was little? Did she not teach him about compassion? Did he not listen? So then situations like the one in Russia and Ukraine make us want to look again at what we are teaching our own children and grandchildren. What are the messages that they will remember from us when they grow up to lead their part of the world?
Finally, what does our faith say to us about hope? I sat at my desk overlooking the backyard as the sun first appeared this morning. Two pairs of robins and a brilliant cardinal perched amid the speckled white branches of the river birch tree. Even in the dark, we are a people of hope! Pastor Jon Keller from the Troy Church of the Brethren closes his email messages with:
“Love Wins!” Today, I will close my article the same way as a statement of faith: “LOVE WINS!”