The Bible in Real Time
The crisis and suffering in Ukraine is real and troubling. Obviously it is a matter of prayer and an occasion that calls for us to contribute towards humanitarian relief efforts through agencies such as UNICEF, the International Red Cross and our own United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). It also provides for us a rare insight into the suffering rampant in the Biblical world. Our television screens and social media feeds are dominated by images of suffering, pain and dislocation caused by the wicked use of power by ruthless tyrant and his unjust regime.
Friends, this is what life was like for God’s people for much of the Bible. The Egyptians, the Philistines, the Amalekites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and finally, the Romans all oppressed the people of God. They inflicted great pain, suffering, destruction and death upon innocent and overpowered Jews. So today in real time we are seeing biblical themes played out.
It is to these victims of suffering that the Bible issued the call to exhibit courage, justice, and faithfulness. Jesus’s call to love your enemies took place in a country overrun by a violent regime. And perhaps, most surprisingly, all throughout the Old and New Testaments comes the call to trust in the God on whose name we call for help even when circumstances would suggest hopelessness.
Let us not lose hope and trust in God whose desire is that our world live in peace.