It can be difficult to imagine what other people are facing sometimes. Through the pandemic, we had a shared experience, although some suffered through these times more than others. The floods in NSW and Queensland are somewhat familiar to us. Many of us have faced these challenges. The war in Ukraine is not so much a common experience for us. And sometimes it is difficult to know how to respond. So I'd like us to spend 5 minutes wondering how to respond as Christians in these times of crisis.
There is a war in Ukraine. Russia has attacked the nation and the people of Ukraine. Many have died. Many are suffering. War such as this is not something often seen these days. it is easy to digress down political debate however, for the Christian, we must consider other things first:
1 Timothy 2:1-4
1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
First of all, Paul writes, prayer. So before we go any further, please stop and pray for those suffering. Here are some words of prayer you may find helpful:
God of peace and justice,
we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
And we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold and protect them,
we pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Saviour,
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand O God. Do not forget the helpless. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. You, Lord hear the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
After we pray, it is helpful to reflect on what we may be able to do in response physically. There are many funds set up to assist those in need. This war is happening physically in Ukraine. This is where most physical and financial support is currently needed. The following website provides a trustworthy and valuable agency for such support for getting your help to those in need:
Again, our first step as we consider the needs of those in flood-affected areas is to pray. This prayer may be of help, but it would be a wonderful thing to come to God each day in prayer for the developing situation:
Our loving heavenly Father, you are sovereign over all things,
and powerful over our lives.
we pray today for those who have been affected by these recent floods.
We pray for those suffering the loss of loved ones, the loss of homes, the loss of treasured possessions, the loss of community.
May you bless them with your peace and hope.
May you surround them with help in their time of need.
Help us to help them as we are able.
Be with our emergency services as they try and help the increasing needs throughout NSW and Queensland.
And in this world that is passing away, where all that we have is temporary, may we all find your comfort in the eternal treasure you offer beyond this world.
From our Archbishop:
"Destructive floods have struck the east coast of Australia including in Brisbane, northern NSW and now, the Hawkesbury, South West Sydney, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. Some have lost their lives and others are grieving the loss of their loved ones. Thousands of people have nowhere to live and have suffered the loss of their homes, their property and their businesses. Communities have lost shops, schools, aged care homes and no doubt church buildings. The shock and grief are overwhelming.
In such times, we want to reach out to help those in need. Anglicare is assisting through food and financial relief and provision of goods through the network of Op Shops. If people need assistance they can access it through Anglicare op shops or via the food and assistance page on Anglicare’s website. People can also make a donation or volunteer to assist in the clean-up via the website."
I hope you will be able to spend time praying for those in need and then take time to consider how you may be able to help in other ways also.