Standing with the Oppressed

We watch the news and reports on social media, and find ourselves numb with horror. Thoughts of “how can this be happening now?” pass through our minds. We see the pictures and video footage, and feel helpless. It is bewildering.

It is in times like these where we are lost for words – and perhaps it is better to not even try to find any. Instead we just inwardly groan ‘Lord – have mercy!’. For the moment that may be enough – we trust that God hears. At Countess Free Church we are a people learning to simply trust – to hold onto ‘hope’ because we know God, and have grown to know God better. In Jesus we see that He does indeed care, He comforts, He draws alongside. Even in the current crisis alone we have already directly seen God in action through our lives, adding another story to a whole catalogue of other stories across this church in many different situations.

A long long time ago someone boldly spoke up, seeing a day when many peoples of all backgrounds and languages would come towards God, looking for Him to show a better way. To trust that the ultimate ‘sorting out’ of these big issues is in His hands. The speaker gave encouragement with the words:

They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.

Isaiah 2:4

The speaker could see that peace was possible, even if at times it seems remote! At Countess Free Church it is our desire to follow Jesus, which we believe can only mean pursuing paths of peace. Flesh and blood are never our enemies, no matter how much we disagree. And like Jesus we come alongside those who are oppressed and pushed out. Where will we spend the larger balance of our time? It will be with the oppressed, those for whom the normal ‘systems’ are not working, those who are suffering great injustices.

Sadly we currently see injustices on a horrendous scale enacted against the Ukrainian people through the tools of warfare and false propaganda. So we stand with them, desperately pleading for relief for the nation, for a better way, for true community on an international scale. We pray alongside them and others looking for the day when Isaiah’s words become an enduring physical reality.