20th Feb 2022 – When the Drums of War Start Beating
The headlines regarding the Ukraine crisis have been disconcerting: “We’re reaching a tipping point” and “West braces for possible war”. Once we get past the shock of the actual events, Christians might find themselves asking what to think or do when tensions between nations turn violent.
Christians think differently on the issue of war. Some see a place for war if conducted justly. Appealing to what’s known as the Just War Theory, these believers cautiously approve of conflict, provided: the cause is just, the violence is a last resort, it’s instigated by a proper authority, it’s limited in scope and proportional to the offence, the action isn’t focussed on civilians, and there is a reasonable chance of achieving the conflict’s goal. Others see Jesus offering zero resistance to his killers and promote a pacifist approach, decrying violence in all its forms. What’s common to both positions is a hesitancy to be violent and a love of peace – neither position runs towards conflict.
This thinking can inform our prayers. We are told to pray for our leaders so we might live peaceful lives (1 Tim 2:1-2). The most recent edition of the Prayer Book includes a prayer asking God to establish his peace “in the hearts of all and banish from them the spirit that makes for war”. For the sake of the millions of people living in and near Ukraine, please spend some time praying in this way over the coming week.