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Parish Magazine Article - April 2022

Hello Everyone,

I feel little choice but to write about the situation in Ukraine.  I’m hesitant because writing this piece several weeks in advance means that it is likely to be out of date. As I write, the news is emerging of an airstrike on a children's hospital in Mariopal.  Each day outdoes itself in reports of wickedness and villainy. I’m not sure this graphic demonstration of evil fits with modern psychological theories of human wrongdoing. What is happening in Ukraine is simply sinful and evil. It demonstrates what Christians and our Jewish forbears have said for centuries.  There is something deeply wrong with human beings.  We are created in the image of God and capable of great goodness, but sinful, rebellious against God and therefore capable of great evil at the same time.

Putin is motivated by distorted views of history, misplaced pride and preparedness to get his own way through the projection of power.  I see this sort of motivation played out all the time, even in familiar contexts; even in Herefordshire and South Shropshire!  The difference is that our petty delusions don’t have access to one of the world’s largest armies to do so much damage.

I pray that Putin won’t get his way through violence. It is certainly proving counter-productive in gaining political submission. Power like this never achieves its ends. In the temptation story, Jesus rejected the use of power, even to bring about good outcomes.  Real change both in the world and in our hearts only happens through love. Jesus seeks to build a kingdom not through coercion but by invitation. As we approach Easter his crucifixion reminds us he was prepared to pay the price in himself for justice to be done. What flows from this is the possibility of forgiveness, something we all need, not just Mr Putin. 

Yours in Christ



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