But this is not a political game of winners and losers. Bombs are exploding and people are losing their homes and their lives. This is a human tragedy, one that must make us feel sadness for our fellow human beings and fear that this could continue to happen – in Ukraine today, in Poland or Panama or the United States tomorrow.
This morning I was attending the monthly meeting of Unitarian Universalist ministers from across Michigan. About a dozen of us were gathered for the virtual meeting. One minister had a question for the rest of us: what did we plan to do in response to the situation in Ukraine?
What can one do?
A war is starting in a country half way around the world from here. The place is far away. The leaders and diplomats who have any influence in the situation – even the American ones—are remote in their halls of power. What can one do?
In the face of war, in the face of military aggression, in the face of illegal use of deadly force anywhere in the world, one must use one’s voice. One of my UU minister colleagues on the call this morning suggested using the hymn, “This Is My Song,” in worship as an appropriate thing to respond to this situation. These are the words to that hymn, written by Lloyd Stone:
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.
Inspired, I posted a video of the song and my prayer for Ukraine on Facebook today. My minister friend did the same. If prayer and protest and song are the only tools we have to condemn war, then those are the tools we must use.
May the people of Ukraine be safe. May the children and the old ones be safe from harm. May this violence end as soon as possible, with as little bloodshed as possible.
May all people unite in prayer, in protest, in voice and in action to end war and military aggression everywhere on this planet.
May it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
February 24, 2022