Christianity Today tells a story of two unlikely people praying for each other: a Ukrainian and a Russian. Two friends torn apart by war. One full of fear and the other full of shame for his nation—but each praying for the other in the midst of the current devastating situation in Ukraine.
As Russia invaded Ukraine, the West witnessed horrific war-inflicted bloodshed upon a sovereign European nation while recognizing the threat of nuclear war for the first time this century. It would be very easy at such a moment to make broadstroke comments about Russia and Russians. But we must be careful to not stereotype people of a certain nation for the actions of a few.
In Communitas, as we look at the work God has called us to, we remind ourselves that our support and prayers should not only pour forth for our Ukrainian friends and colleagues. At the same time, our hearts break for our Russian friends and colleagues, as well. We have seen unprecedented progress of the Gospel in Russia in just the last two pandemic years! And Jesus is a God of reconciliation and peace in times of turmoil. His Spirit helps us see the imago dei, the image of God, in all people. He also helps us see that we are all sinners in need of grace.
So we stand up for Ukrainians and Russians who are people of peace: those in the body of Christ and those yet to find Him. Though we don’t know God’s plans or why He has allowed war and violence of this magnitude to happen, we trust in His unwavering goodness and faithfulness in all things, and we pray for peace for all.
In the Christianity Today article, Angela, the Ukrainian, after hearing her Russian friend’s prayer for her, said, “As I heard Alexey’s heartfelt prayer for me, my family, and my country Ukraine, I could not contain my tears. His pain was real. His words reminded me that I was part of a family not based on nationality, skin color, or status. Only Jesus. Out of all the people that God could have used to comfort me that day, he used a Russian brother to give me a glimpse of his heart.”
As you pray, yes, pray for Ukrainians! But if a Ukranian can pray for her Russian Christian brother, we too must put our Russian brothers and sisters at the forefront of our minds.
Alexey, the Russian in the story, reminds us: “Brothers and sisters in Russia, Ukraine, or any other country, we all have one Heavenly Father and we are all members of the same family. This is not a war within our peoples. I don’t care about your political views or your theology of power. When one of my loved ones is in pain, I want to be there for you.”
Communitas International has been working with churches, house churches, and local faith communities for over 50 years, including in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Our churches embody the message of Christ: a message of peace and hope to a world yearning for peace and hope. We train our leaders to see everyone with the compassion of Christ and in so doing, lead them to the Lord through our love, care, and compassion. With Christ, this is all possible. Without Christ, peace is never possible.
Please join us by supporting our front-line efforts to help the people of Ukraine who have fled to Poland, Romania, and Czechia. Communitas staff and partner churches are directly engaged in housing, feeding, and caring for refugees–often at great personal sacrifice.
100% of YOUR GIFT will support these efforts directly, and the need remains tremendous… in fact, it is significantly larger than when we first asked for your help. Please give as the Lord prompts you. Thank you.