A Prayer for Ukraine

As we move into March and celebrate women, and their contributions to history, I have been thinking about the millions of women, who right now, are courageously fighting for survival in Ukraine.

  • The grandmother who made the difficult to decision to take up arms in defense of her young grandchildren;
  • The teacher who has begun holding classes for children huddled in makeshift bomb shelters in the parking garage of an apartment building;
  • The student fleeing the bombing of her university

Women – mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, daughters … we see you, we hear you, we are praying for you.

In just 2 weeks, Jews the world over will celebrate to Festival of Purim … a festival that commemorates the defeat of an attempted genocide of the Jews of the Persian Empire in the fifth century BCE.

After a virtuous Jewish woman named Esther married King Ahasuerus of Persia, she and her Uncle Mordechai interrupted a plot by the king’s right-hand-man, Haman, who planed “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”

At the eleventh hour, Esther revealed to the king that she was Jewish, meaning Haman’s plan would result in her death. And the king instead sentenced his friend to be executed at the very gallows he’d prepared for the Jews.

The most well-known lines from this Old Testament story are words Esther’s uncle shared with her:

If you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, but surely you will perish. Who knows maybe, just maybe you have come into this place of power, for just such a time as this? 

Beloveds, it does not escape me that the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish.

That he had family members who were killed in the Holocaust.

And that he is now fighting not only for his own life, but for the lives and future of all Ukrainians, and for the soul of democracy.

President Zelenskyy … we see you, we hear you, we are praying for you.

Prayer for Ukraine:

Good and Gracious God, we ask you to hold the people of Ukraine deep in your heart.
Protect them, we pray …
from violence,
from political gamesmanship,
from being used and abused.

Give, we pray …
the nations of the world the courage & the wisdom
to stand up for justice and the courage too,
to dare to care generously.

Lord, in your mercy, take from us all the tendencies in us that seek to lord it over others. Take from us those traits that see us pursuing our own needs and wants before those of others.

Teach us how to live in love, and dignity, and respect – following your example.

In your name and for your sake, Amen.

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