“War is contrary to the will of God”
A prayer for peace in Ukraine by Michael Ramos
O Source of Being,
We cry to you this day, for another war has started, violating your ways.
We know that war is contrary to your will for humankind.
We pray for the people of Ukraine, who seek to live in peace and freedom.
We pray with the prophet Isaiah for those who promote and perpetrate war to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks – let nation not make war on another nation.
We acknowledge that violence lies within all of us and that nations that promote empire will ultimately be cast down in the imagination of their hearts.
War so offends You; You feel its oppression with us, just as you suffer when you witness the oppressions of racism and poverty, gender-inequity and violence, and greed.
Ultimately, You teach us that war is the primordial act of unfaith in You, a form of idolatry.
We grieve our addiction to war, this human-made dis-ease.
We lament our inaction to promote peace and our complicity with systems that make siblings into others and even enemies, although in your Creation we are all siblings, we are all related.
This includes residents and citizens of a nation under attack and residents and citizens of nations with whose governments we are opposed.
How long, Source of Being, must we keep dividing and destroying one another in the name of ideology, in the name of kingdom building, in the name of religion, even in the name of “peace”.
You tell us not to worship falsely, not to afflict the marginalized, the vulnerable, the impoverished, but rather to desire the well-being, the wholeness of all, for we each are part of your Creation, made good and beautiful and holy.
Your presence is felt wherever there is in conflict the pursuit of peace, justice, and mercy through diplomacy and negotiation – human beings in relation to human beings, with a shared destiny for life and beloved community.
You remind us that steps toward cessation of hostilities and disarmament are marks of sanity.
You implore our acceptance of co-responsibility for our common humanity, for we are all are each other’s kin, as today so Ukrainians and Russians are kin, even in the face of overwhelming aggression.
Peacemaking is our shared vocation.
Turn us in a new direction.
The path of nonviolence is the most profound yearning of citizens who refuse to yield to the false distinction between “us and them.”
We beseech you with unmitigated urgency: to prevent further destruction of life, the crushing of civilians, the seizure of a sovereign people, the disfiguring of a people who love God.
A people who have known suffering and loss of land and denial of freedom and discarding of humanity.
Thank you for reminding us of our relationship to the people under siege. Our fates are intertwined in ways that You know beyond our capacity.
We remember the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and shout out, “Never again!”
And yet, the proliferation of nuclear weapons has led to this newest threat:
War today runs the risk of escalation into nuclear conflict. Shed with us your divine tears!
Thank you for showing us that another way is possible: the way of peace with justice.
We are grateful that you made us for kin-ship and not earthly kingdom, for solidarity across borders and not manifest destiny, for circles of cooperation not spheres of influence and military control.
Guide our long walk to construct peace. With St. Francis, make us all instruments of your peace.
We declare that you are our security, our Source of refuge in a time of need, such as this.
Be compassionate upon us, even as we are compassionate to one another, without qualification or exclusion.
We are conscious that the human cost of war lies far beyond the zone of military confrontation.
Waging peace is our destiny and our integrity.
Being peace is our lens and our compass, our practice and our horizon.
From such a calling, may we not desist.
From such a moment, may we be courageous risk-takers for a just peace.
May our prayers rise to you at such a time as this.
May you receive us and our plea for an end to this war and all war, confident that abiding your ways will transform our world.
May there be peace in Ukraine, this day and ever-more.