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World News

God is at work in Ukraine helping people stand up to injustice says Bishop to the Armed Forces

by Donna Birrell

Special services are being held today, Sunday, as part of a special Day of Prayer for Ukraine.  

Earlier this week, the Bishop of Exeter, Rt Rev Robert Atwell also called for prayers for British military personnel and their families, particularly those based in the Baltic States, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.  

Rt Rev Hugh Nelson is Bishop to the Armed Forces. He’s been speaking to Premier about how we can pray for Ukraine :

“I feel probably the same as many people around the country and around the world today, which is a sense of utter horror at seeing things unfolding in Ukraine at the moment. As Bishop to the Armed Forces I have a particular concern for Anglican chaplains and all chaplains serving our personnel, and then for the service personnel who we know are not on the ground in Ukraine, but who are on high alert and who I know are concerned about what might come for them, how that might affect their families. So my mind is for the people of Ukraine and for our armed forces.

“What I am sure about is that Christians, both in the services and outside the services do stand alongside our brothers and sisters in Ukraine in prayer. I stand absolutely shoulder to shoulder as a brother in Christ with all the people of Ukraine and commit myself, and I'm sure this is true of many Christians serving in the Army and the Air Force and in the Navy, standing shoulder to shoulder in prayer and commitment to the kingdom of God. 

“I think there are two ways in which we can pray. One is to pray really specifically for small things.  I will often pray at the moment that a bullet or a shell or a rocket will fall short of a target that it won't end up hitting someone that it hits a wall instead, that someone at a moment of making a decision which might have a terrible impact, that a moment of conscience prompts them in a different direction. That a moment of kindness might be extended, just in a really small way, that a child who today might be terrified, would find a friend who they could spend some time with. 

“So I can pray for these really small things that affect people's ordinary, everyday lives. Then of course, we know that as Christians, there are two stories in the world and there are two kingdoms. There's the kingdom of violence, which is what we're seeing being unleashed in Ukraine. There is evil in the world. But there's a different story being told, a different kingdom which is the story of love and grace and mercy that Jesus came to invite us all into. So we stand in that story and in that place. We stand in that kingdom and we cry out to the Lord from that place for peace. Those two ways of praying certainly for me are the two things that help.

“I see God always at work in calling peace out of violence and justice out of injustice. That's who God is. He is the God of peace and justice. That's where God is and I see him at work amongst those people who are bravely standing in Ukraine on behalf of that kingdom of peace and justice.”


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