Yesterday I witness the most amazing encounter. My wife and I went down to the coast to walk along the beach. We parked the car and watched some Canada geese puttering around in the shallow water. Suddenly from the middle of the empty inlet a lone goose came flying in. Before we knew it there was a raging battle between the two males as the single female honked beside them in alarm. Apparently Canada geese mate for life and will fiercely contest any attempt to break the relationship. We were witnessing such an encounter. A lone goose wanted a mate and decided to muscle in and take what belonged to someone else. I couldn’t help but think of Putin and Ukraine.
At first sign of attack the male didn’t abandon his mate. He stepped up and defended what was his. No time for honking or compromise, he had no choice. They batted each other with their wings like boxers, grabbed and bit at each others necks, holding on and refusing to let go. This went of for over ten minutes. Eventually they began to tire until at last the attacking bird flapped its way back to its solitary refuge far away from the shore, repelled and defeated.
I pray that the goose fight we witnessed is a prophetic picture of how things will play out in the Ukraine. I am praying for a miracle, as I know we all are. But in a world where many of us perhaps have grown comfortable and somewhat entitled, we are being reminded that there are moments where the pathway to peace requires encounter; whether we like it or not.
There are times when words are not enough. Action is required. Courageous action that rises unshackled above political correctness, my popularity, or even my safety. It is rare today in leadership. Which is why what we are witnessing in the actions of President Zelinsky in war ravaged Ukraine is so admirable, humbling, and challenging to those of us on the sidelines. He’s not a perfect man and I’m sure we could dig up dirt about him; as we can for every human being. But, the question is, how will the rest of us equally flawed individuals respond when attack is imminent?
It is likely that President Zelinsky’s courage in the face of absolutely overwhelming odds has both shamed and inspired the rest of us to not sit on the fence and wring our hands. “I don’t want a ride I need weapons,” he told the those offering him an exit out of danger. Some of the news has distilled the battle between Putin (I don’t believe the whole of Russia endorses the insanity) and Ukraine as a face-off between good and evil. Perhaps, and what are we learning?
It takes no more than one person to create chaos and introduce negativity and violence that impacts and destroys the lives of others. One germ to start a pandemic, one bold act of resistance to ignite a revolution.
It is unwise to believe everything at face value, to swallow every word spoken, or to choose not to question or ‘not hear’. But we can’t wait forever in case we make a mistake…… that is the greatest error of all.
Sometimes, to halt and overcome evil, good has to take action, even at the cost of lives being lost, or possibly friendships broken.
Prayer is essential – as well as action.
Unity is powerful.
Perfection is not required. I can always find a reason why someone is unworthy, or a cause less than ideal. But there are times where I have to decide who to move forward with….. despite their flaws and fully aware of my own failings. God did that when Jesus called his first disciples.
Agreement on basics, such as freedom, respect, diversity, and kindness – have to be protected, at times fought for and defended.
Love and goodness will always conquer – eventually.
God has created humanity to bear witness to love, goodness, justice, and peace – whether individuals recognize him or not, his DNA beats through our veins. That’s what we are witnessing around the world today.
Fear is normal but not an excuse. Everyone still in Ukraine is terrified….. but courage and resolve are stronger, particularly when rooted in faith in God.
Let’s keep praying for Ukraine and President Zelinsky – carpe diem!
And pray for the Russians embroiled in a nightmare not of their choosing. Listen to this:
This is the “national spiritual anthem” of Ukraine, МОЛИТВА ЗА УКРАЇНУ, a hymn that is familiar to most Ukrainians.
Lord, oh the Great and Almighty,
Protect our beloved Ukraine,
Bless her with freedom and light
Of your holy rays.
With learning and knowledge enlighten
Us, your children small,
In love pure and everlasting
Let us, oh Lord, grow.
We pray, oh Lord Almighty,
Protect our beloved Ukraine,
Grant our people and country
All your kindness and grace.
Bless us with freedom, bless us with wisdom,
Guide into kind world,
Bless us, oh Lord, with good fortune
For ever and evermore.