“Yea though I walk…” Familiar words we recite in times of great loss and fear, funerals and times that feel hopeless. It’s being uttered repeatedly in earnestness and hope in bunkers throughout Ukraine currently. The pictures above are from a mass being celebrated this week. This week, we begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. We receive the mark of the cross in ashes and a reminder that we come from dust and to dust we shall return. It reminds us of our mortality and marks a season of reflection, sacrifice, and penitence. And we are reminded that in life and in death, we belong to Jesus Christ.
Our brothers and sisters in bunkers in Ukraine this week will be keenly aware of their mortality, surrounded by death and the ashes of their own cities and homes. As we enter these next 40 days, we will reflect, and we will respond as a nation and world, perhaps requiring sacrifice as we place sanctions or see a rise in prices of fuel and goods and so forth. It will be hard for us and harder for them. We will watch the news and worry for them and for the world.
And in the midst of this chaos and tragedy and mortal danger, we as believers have hope with our believer brothers and sisters in those bunkers. We trust in the words of our Ash Wednesday traditions and services… in life and in death, nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Let us remain connected, aware, and in solidarity with all who suffer and pray for peace. This week and for the Lenten season, remain vigilant and prayerful. Do not become overwhelmed by the news, but informed and compassionate, so we may lend our help and resources as we see need.