I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, then you grow wings.
-Rev. William Sloane Coffin
My heart is breaking as I witness the violence, terror, and devastation being unleashed on the people of Ukraine. Flashbacks to the powerlessness I felt when our country invaded Iraq and Afghanistan two decades ago haunt me. As a person of liberal faith, I am still called to witness to the good, the true, and the beautiful in the world in times like these. War is almost never any of these. I am moved by the bravery and courage of the Ukrainian people and others resisting oppression and violence in places like Palestine, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
I am reflecting upon the words of the 14th Dalai Lama: “Of course, war and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings… Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering.”
I pray for an end to this war and the establishment of peace and happiness in hearts of all and I pray we begin to transform our global society such that we will neither accept war nor the mentalities and machinery that make it possible as anything other than monstrous. Let us have faith in a future secured by peace.
Our Soul Matters theme this month is “Renewing Faith.” Each month we reflect together as a congregation on a spiritual theme in some of our meetings, publications, and worship services. We are people of “liberal faith” who place our trust in our open-minded and open-hearted approach to life and in our hope for a brighter future for humanity with greater freedom, justice, and love for all. We renew our faith by stretching our beings through participation in community life and by inspiration from courageous people like President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
Our friends at Soul Matters invite us to deepen our consideration of the theme with the following questions: What have you trusted since childhood? What have you never lost faith in? Has your faith in humanity increased or decreased as you’ve grown older? How is your faith in democracy doing? Has age allowed you to be more or less faithful to your true self? Despite its losses and challenges, Covid has clarified priorities for many of us. So, because of covid, what are you now more faithful to? Is it time to take that leap of faith?
Our pastoral care leaders would like to encourage you to reach out for support if you are having a difficult time and would benefit from confidential spiritual support from our trained team of pastoral caregivers. We would also like to celebrate life’s accomplishments and joys and hold you in your times of grief, so if you have a joy, sorrow, or milestone to share with our larger community, please let us know. You can request confidential support or share news with the congregation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in ministry and love,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae