A letter from Bishop Scott J. Jones: Fast for Ukraine
This Ash Wednesday, with people across the world, I am fasting. Together, we are answering a call from global Christian leaders to fast for Ukraine.
Usually, during Ash Wednesday, our minds turn to our mortality, to our humanity and our need for God’s forgiveness. Fasting is a practice that is meant to strengthen our focus and direct our mindfulness. Lent calls us to reflect on Jesus’s time in the wilderness, where He too fasted and prayed, in preparation for the tasks ahead.
Right now, our world is called to prayer. News broke only last Thursday, Feb. 24, that Russian troops invaded Ukraine. This came after a long period of military escalation. Still, watching bombs fall and shots fired came as a shock. Sirens sounded, people took shelter, and we watched in horror.
In Ukraine, many of our United Methodist Churches have transformed into shelters for those fleeing the violence. In the U.S., we might feel overwhelmed, like our hands are tied. We want to help, but we are not always sure how. What is the best way to move forward?
Let’s start by joining in prayer for Ukraine. Let us pray for our United Methodist Churches in Ukraine and Russia and for my friend Bishop Eduard Khegay, who presides over all of the United Methodist Churches in both of these countries.
We can bow our heads for the continued stamina and courage of Ukraine and for the leadership of President Zelensky, President Biden and others around the world as this conflict continues. We can also pray for Putin’s heart to change and ultimately for peace for this region of the world.
My thoughts turn to scripture, Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
We are called to decry war and search for a better way. As Christians, we are also called to love our neighbors. Let us act as a light in this dark time.
Lent also reminds us of a difficult time for Jesus. We also walk into the wilderness with prayer as our shield. Let us also remember the hope that comes with faith.
Do not forget that Easter is on the horizon, the promise of God’s grace. Together, let us pray for Ukraine, and remember 2 Thessalonians 3:16: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.’
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Scott Jones