Today, Christians around the world are marking the start of Lent with the words, â€œdust to dust, ashes to ashes.â€ While our own Lenten journey will look a bit different this year [link â€œthis yearâ€ to Lent webpage], there is no escaping the dust and ash of our moment. Events in Ukraine are heartbreaking, and anxieties about global implications are running high.
Both The United Methodist Church and The United Church of Christ condemn the aggression and are calling upon their members to pray for those who find themselves in harmâ€™s way. Both denominations are also offering ways to extend material support to those in the region through relationships with churches on the ground. The United Methodist Committee on Reliefâ€™s International Disaster Response and Recovery Fund ensures funds get where they are most needed, or you could also give directly to funds overseen by UM churches in Ukraine and Moldova. At this time, those funds are being directed by a crisis committee of pastors and lay leaders to address emerging needs. The UCC will distribute funds through the ACT Alliance and its relationship with Hungarian Reformed Church Aid.
Even with these opportunities, we cannot help but feel powerless as we watch the continued attacks, the fleeing of refugees, and the vigils of those who wait to hear from loved ones. Sometimes our best prayers are the ones that draw us into grief and lament, sharingâ€”in small but true waysâ€”the sorrow our siblings. Our evening ecumenical Ash Wednesday service will be one opportunity to do just that. I hope youâ€™ll join for a service of prayer and reflection, ash and communion at 7:00 pm on Zoom (note: different login).
With brokenhearted prayers for our broken world,