The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine has many levels but the most urgent need is for an end to the violence and to create a path for peace.
I was heartened to learn that our national United Church of Christ leadership shared this prayer last week. It is more than a prayer, really. It is also a call to action. I hope that you will read it and pray it with many others.
See you in church,
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19
As the attention of the world turns to the ignored cries for peace from the people of Ukraine, we the officers of the United Church of Christ join our prayers with those of churches and people of faith all over the globe that the attack against Ukraine will cease. As a Just Peace Church, the United Church of Christ calls for the de-escalation of violence and a return to diplomatic negotiations, the only true way conflict ever ceases. We urge our members to pray throughout the day for peace and protection against the evils of war for the people whose lives and well-being are in danger.
Hear our prayers for all those who will die today because of war in Ukraine and other war-torn countries all over this world. Grant them an end to the suffering of this world and eternal peace that is only found in You.
We pray for the people of Ukraine, Russia, and all nations — that war and bloodshed can be avoided and a new, just peace can be forged out of this crisis. We ask God grant wisdom to the leaders of nations, calling them to end provocation on all sides and invest instead in “the things that make for peace” as called for in all of our faith traditions (Luke 19:41-2).
We pray for an end to the deep insecurity and mistrust on all sides, and call on leaders to build trust, based not on military might or alliances, but on the basis of our shared future and common humanity. Now is a time in which past harm should be acknowledged and addressed, and new partnerships can be envisioned.
We pray for and call on our leaders to have the courage to take small, verifiable, and independent steps toward peace; inviting others to reciprocate. Now is the time to invest in conflict resolution, diplomacy and international cooperation — not more weapons which only escalate tension in the region.
Be with those suffering in ways that we cannot.
Protect them from devastation in ways those positioned in authority will not. Shield and comfort them as they confront the terror of violence that surrounds them. Hold them close to your heart and stay the hand of the enemies against them. Give us the courage and the strength to cry aloud against wickedness in high places that dare to harm others made in your image.
Comfort the children and heed their cries to be saved from harm in this world.
Make us a people who love our children, all of our children, more than we love greed, power, and control. Overturn governments of tyranny wherever they are found. Disrupt the intentions of evil and give us power to stand against the demonic forces of greed and control. Grant that peace and justice come to warring nations by the hands of those courageous enough to stand and study war no more. Let Thy kin-dom come on earth as it is in heaven, we pray.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The National Officers of the United Church of Christ
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer — General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci A. Blackmon — Associate General Minister
The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson — Associate General Minister