for the MONTH
Just when we thought the weather couldn't get any worse; along
came Storm Franklin! And, I don't know about you, but I thought
the windows of the manse were going to come in as the lightning
struct, the thunder clapped, and the rain battered against
the glass. It certainly wasn't a night for an uninterrupted
sleep. And the following day the clear up began.
was the third storm in a short period of time. And while we
are not really used to having such extreme weather events
like this in quick succession sometimes life can be a bit
like that: one stormy situation quickly following another.
the beginning of the year, in addition to recognising the
ongoing political events influencing our own nation, we have
become more and more aware of the deepening crisis involving
Ukraine and their eastern neighbours, Russia. We were being
told that a storm was brewing but while diplomatic negotiations
continued there was an uneasy sense of impending attack. And
then, as though a potentially devastating storm touched land,
Russian soldiers with a significant amount of war equipment
entered Ukraine. What will become of this situation still
remains an unknown. However, what I was always taught at school,
and at church, is that actions speak louder than words.
many years there has been a strain in relations between east
and west; and now it is coming to a head. However, while we
are not sure what the end result will be, what we do know
is that God will work through these conflicts to bring new
shoots of life, in ways we would not necessarily have expected.
the gospels, Jesus defined Himself by saying who He was and
what His mission was. At the same time, He never sought to
control or manipulate others to agree with Him; instead, He
asked questions and invited others into conversation to help
them see where they stood in relation to one another.
Jesus had an ability to stay connected with those who didn't
understand Him or His mission and even those who opposed Him
at every turn. He loved Peter, who undermined Jesus's mission
and then betrayed Him and He frequently entered into heated
debate with the religious leaders who were trying to trap
Him; and then He accepted invitations to eat in their homes.
Even on the cross, Jesus connected to His enemies by asking
His Father to forgive them.
No one, I'm sure, would underestimate how tricky it is to
retain a connection with those who are in dispute but every
effort has to be made to do so. It is often too easy to give
up our connections to people with whom we disagree in order
to hold on to our convictions. These are early days of conflict
and I pray that a resolution can be quickly found. However,
no resolution will be possible if diplomatic contact is broken.
Therefore, if you are feeling anxious about this whole sorry
situation take time in prayer to God and find His peace and
calmness. And pray for those who are on the receiving end
of any atrocities which may occur.
Peace is a fragile state but it is something that we have
enjoyed for several generations. May the negotiations for
peace be stronger than the fight for war. Otherwise, we may
end up with a world filled with storms like Fanklin.
in Christ., Graham