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.....But the GREATEST of these is... love!
By Trish Patrick in All Sorts
the turmoil and anguish of Ukraine is likened to the events leading up to the first Easter and God's response.....But the GREATEST of these is... love!
Ukraine is facing the turmoil and anguish of a twenty first century Easter experience. Most of us can only imagine the fear of having to flee to the unknown, or the terrifying prospect of staying to defend home and country. Families torn apart not knowing if they will be reunited or even have a home to go to after this appalling assault/occupation has drawn to some sort of 'conclusion'. Life as the Ukrainians have known it will never be the same again.
Sadly, this scenario is the experience of many countries; Syria, West Papua, Myanmar to name a few. Power grabs continue to be a feature in the 21st century. Dictators and tyrants seem to be making their presence felt. Extremist groups are 'having their day in the sun' spurred on by mis-information platforms. Unheard and feeling alienated, cohorts of individuals struggle to feed, clothe, and educate their families.
Fabulous wealth has been accumulated by an elite group of individuals able to turn to their advantage loop-holes in tax laws, and tax havens designed to maximize profits and protect often questionably-acquired funds. Exploitation and enslavment of both adults and children continues to plague society.
The above is a short-list of the grievous woes of the world...and I haven't even mentioned global warming or the pandemic! These undergird all the afore mentioned troubles.
As we enter the season of Lent we are constrained to consider the events in the gospels leading up to Easter. It would be fair to say the political scene was similarily fraught, the country already occupied and the people under the heel of Rome, and ruled by a tyrant. A tryrant who delegated tyranny to acolytes who carried out his bidding to the letter. Any threat of resistance or possible challenge to the supremacy of the leader was swiftly dealt with. Gatherings of people were monitored, meticulously reported on and quelled, often in very cruel ways. Life, uncertain at the best of times, was fragile and difficult.
All these restrictions and indignities are potentially the experience of Ukraine (and other peoples living in occupied territories). As I write this (4-3-22), Putin is threatening to increase his bombardment of towns and cities in order to obliterate the State of Ukraine.
'God!! where are YOU in all this chaos and grief ' we ask, feeling helpless and angry at another completely avoidable and unnecessary war unfolding in front of us.
A deafening silence assaults our ears as we listen for 'the still small voice'. The bombing continues.
Maybe the point of remembering Lent and Easter, is the incarnational intent of the gospel. 'God' cannot intervene to stop carnage and mayhem...history has shown us that.
However, the example Jesus sets of his life, his dealings with people, and his compelling teaching, culminating in his grotesque death, lead to the undeniable fact. Evil does NOT have the last word. Remembering Lent and Easter reminds us that love is the currency of life. Love, in its agape expression, will ultimately have the last word. Tyrants may have the upper-hand for a time, Evil may prevail for a time, but love, creativity and hope will ultimately overcome.
In his hymn, Colin asks 'Is there no other way?' responding; 'I choose another way than this.
I choose to turn from final loss:
Choose good for bad, choose love not hate.'
Sadly, in spite of the ideal of pacifism, arms will be taken up in defensive action. Death and destruction will follow and peoples lives decimated.
However, whoever one perceives the creative life force to be, he/she/, love will be created in all the acts of kindness, care, and courage no matter where the conflict.
It may not be the dramatic intervention we would have wanted, but it's what we have... 'God's' spirit, alive in loving creative solidarity with the brokenness of the world.
Love is born
With a dark and troubled face When hope is dead
And in the most unlikely place Love is born:
Love is always born.
(Michael Leunig.) Trish Patrick.