Today is the exact anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, the day when the horrors of war returned to the continent of Europe. A terrible anniversary. The only cause for celebration is the calibre of the Ukrainian resistance, defying the expectations of the whole world, and not least, of the invaders themselves.
Our Europe & Caribbean Langham team meets every other Friday to talk and pray, and we’d actually arranged to pray for Ukraine this Friday anyway, unaware when we planned that it was the anniversary. So we opened it up and talked to two precious friends who are living in Kyiv. Here are a few elements from our meeting, which we interspersed with music, readings and breakout rooms.
We started with a short video I compiled to get the last horrific year into some focus.
The first conversation we had was with Sergiy Tymchenko, a dear friend, Langham Scholar and coordinator of our LP movement in Ukraine. He is the founding director of Realis, which he refers to in the chat.
The final clip was of one of Sir James Macmillan‘s sublime Strathclyde Motets, O Radiant Dawn, sung by Apollo5. The text is a variation on one of the ancient Antiphons, drawing additionally on its source text in Isaiah 7.
O Radiant Dawn, Splendour of eternal Light,
Sun of Justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah had prophesied, The people who walked in darkness have seen the great light upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
It is an example of musical word setting at its most poignantly precise, together acapella singing at its finest. Despite normally being associated with Advent, it seemed entirely fitting for this dark day.
A Prayer for Ukraine on the Anniversary of the Invasion
From Christian Aid
Almighty and Great God,
Accept our gratitude for your boundless mercy towards us.
Hear the supplication of our afflicted hearts for the land and people of Ukraine, as they confront foreign aggression and invasion.
Open the eyes of those who have been overtaken by a spirit of deception and violence, that they be horrified by their works.
Grant victory over the powers of evil that have arisen and bless Ukraine with your gifts of liberty, peace, tranquility, and good fortune.
We implore you, O Merciful God, look with grace upon those who courageously defend their land.
Remember the mothers and fathers, the innocent children, widows and orphans, the disabled and helpless, those seeking shelter and refuge, who reach out to you and to their fellow human beings looking for mercy and compassion.
Bless the hearts of those who have already shown great generosity and solidarity, and those who prepare to receive their Ukrainian brothers and sisters in Ukraine’s greatest time of need.
Bring us together as your children, your creation, and instill in us your strength, wisdom and understanding.
May you be praised and glorified, now and forever, and to the ages of ages.