"Hope that results from faith in Jesus may be defined as ability to see a new reality. To long for a different world and behave as if we were already in it. Waiting on Christ is never passive, never simply a feeling."
Mennonite World Conference general secretary César García offered this message in an ecumenical prayer event for Ukraine on Ash Wednesday, 2 March 2022 organized by Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), World Methodist Council (WMC), Conference of European Churches (CEC), the Anglican Communion and MWC. More than 3 000 people attended from 80 countries.
Peacemaking is hard work, said Rev. Dr Hanns Lessing, WCRC acting secretary, like turning swords into ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4). “We must use our resources to bring life.” With the lament from Psalm 130, he also remembered Myanmar, Yemen, Sudan, Syria and other places experiencing the hardships of war.
Church leaders in Ukraine spoke of struggling to obtain food and supplies, to keep people safe amid shelling and invading forces, and dealing with refugees (in areas farther from the front).
“We don’t know if we should leave our city. Now, we stay; we stay strong with God,” said a Mennonite Brethren pastor from Berdiansk.
“When times of trial comes, spiritual gifts start showing up,” said a Father from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate. “The image of God in us in society is being awakened to serve community.”
He also called for honesty and discernment about “who real enemy is. May we still be peacebuilders in times of trial.”
The event closed with an intercessory prayer liturgy as participants gave “amens” in the chat.
MWC members from Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, the Netherlands, USA and beyond joined the prayer time.
“This is our part as a peace church,” says Agus Mayanto, MWC regional representative for Asia, who invited leaders in his region to attend.
Click to see the intercessory prayer liturgy
Click here to view the prayer event.