Who isn’t right now in the final days of February 2022 thinking about the people of Ukraine?
Forces of the Russian Federation launched an attack on 24 February 2022. There’s no summary that can fit on the inside of a Chappies chewing gum wrapper, and quickly explain how we got here.
Geo-politics is complicated, especially European geo-politics. But I don’t think Russia had to do what it did.
So, I’m thinking about the Ukrainian people enduring an invasion and there’s a motif that becomes apparent: in general, they’re quite tough.
I think of the account of 13 Ukraine border guards on Zmiinyi island confronted by an ultimatum from a Russian naval vessel to surrender. They rather crudely said no and were killed without mercy for it.
I think of the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’, a MIG pilot that appears to be well trained and motivated, sort of a Ukrainian version of Maverick (Pete Mitchell) from Top Gun, splashing 6 bogies so far. Who knows, he may be wondering whether he’ll be alive to watch the follow-up movie set for release later this year.
I think of that clip on social media of a group of Christians gathered in an underground shelter, singing a hymn with the world going crazy outside.
I can’t but help think of it being a reflection of a spiritual reality.
Paul writes to the church at Ephesus that they have an enemy who is serious about taking them out, and its not the Romans or the Russians or the North Korean regime: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:1, NIV)
In light of that, Believers have to be strong in the Lord and make sure they stand.
In spiritual battle, ultimately no less real than any war footage we see on the news, we need to stand. We have been provided with equipment for that. Paul fleshed that out by giving a rundown of the kit of the soldiers guarding him: a belt, a breastplate, feet shod with shoes making the soldier mobile, a shield, helmet and sword. All of these elements with spiritual parallels and applications (Ephesians 6: 13 – 18)
I see, and hear and read about Ukrainian people, backing each other up in this time, supporting one another like they’re in the fight for their lives, because they are.
And I look around, and I’m in a foxhole with my family, just trying to see off the next barrage.
In a letter to Philemon, Paul greets ‘Apphia our sister’ and ‘Archippus our fellow soldier’.
I’m in a foxhole with my family, but I also have fellow soldiers and this morning I was wondering why it seems as though me and my fellow soldiers aren’t fighting tooth and nail side by side.
Like I need to close ranks with some fellow soldiers near me because I can’t Rambo my way through.