As if a pandemic, hurricane and last year’s winter freeze aren’t enough, we now are watching the devastation of Ukraine play out on our 24-hour news cycle, so that Herod can expand his power base. If only we in this world could learn the ways of peace.

We are receiving stories from the Lutheran Church in Slovakia (the second largest church body in that country) that refugees are pouring across the border. Slovakia is not alone. Lutherans are housing refugees in their churches and homes. We all yearn for some way to respond. We need to pray for and concretely support the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (ECACP), Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania (ECACR), Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia (ECACS), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, and the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine (GELCU), who are not only responding, but painfully aware that if Russia succeeds, they could be next.

Here is a 2-minute video from our ELCA personnel in Budapest, on our response with our partner churches in Europe.

I am humbly asking that all our congregations pray weekly for Ukraine in the Prayers of the Church during the 40 days of Lent and the 50 days of Easter. I am also asking for our congregations to dedicate at least one Lenten service offering to support our sister churches in Eastern Europe and the efforts of the Lutheran World Federation.

Your prayer petition may be as simple as, “For peace in Ukraine. God of grace, hear our prayer.”

If you would like a longer prayer for peace:
“We pray for the people of Ukraine, and for our sister churches of Eastern Europe. Kindle in the hearts of all your children the love of peace, and guide with your wisdom the leaders of the nations, so that your the earth will be filled with the knowledge of your love…”

“The prophet Isaiah foretold that one day we would beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Grant an end to hostilities in Ukraine, that your people might know peace…”

DONATIONS can be sent to Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) here. Or send them to the Gulf Coast Synod if that’s easier, and we will pass them along.

A bulletin insert is available here.

Here is a Liturgy for Ukraine from the Iona Community.

Here is a more detailed report on how LDR is deploying $1.8M in resources.

Source: Staff, W. S. J. 2022. “Russia’s War in Ukraine in Maps and Graphics.” Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2022, sec. World.

Dona nobis pacem.

Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares, is a sculpture by Ukrainian artist Evgeniy Vuchetich.