The Archbishop of Canterbury's Radio Four moment on Friday Morning 2/25
To wake up to the news of war is terrible.
To wake up to its reality is orders of magnitude worse.
Shakespeare refers to war as chaos - the loosing of the dogs of war - and calls for one of his characters to cry out the warning about what it means.
Those in the Ukraine will be thinking about their relatives on the front lines, or the friends on the front lines. We are thinking, where is it going to go next? Politicians are thinking, what do we do?
In all of the thinking, in all of the responses, there is the great uncertainty which is the worst enemy of good decisions. Uncertainty leads to fear, fear leads to overreaction. How do we react well? How do politicians in the cloud of war, not really knowing what’s going on, but knowing they have no opportunity to wait – how do they make up their minds?
They will rightly call for all of us, and for themselves, to have resolution, courage, determination, a willingness to sacrifice whatever is necessary in order to ensure that peace may come and justice may be done.
Peace and justice. They often seem to contrast, and yet they are opposite sides of the same coin.
We seek peace and justice, and that must end with those involved in conflict not having solutions imposed on them but finding for themselves the way forward to reconciliation and peace.
Right at the end of his life, Jesus Christ, on the eve of his crucifixion, spoke to his disciples and he said something very memorable. ‘In the world you will have trouble, but do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.’
For me and for many of faith, the great certainty in the world, the only certainty, is that we know that God does not change. Let us find our resolution, our peace, our certainty not by screwing up our courage, but in the knowledge of the eternal arms that hold us.
May God be with those who suffer today.
A Pastoral Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York