Sunday Extra- March 6, 2022
Open the Book
Today our hearts are heavy for the people of Ukraine. Ukraine is one of the most Christian countries in Europe, 78% identify as part of a church, up from 39% just in 1991. So, today let’s pray for our brothers and sisters.
March 6 is the first Sunday of Lent for 2022. Lent is the season around the 6 Sundays leading up to Easter (April 17 this year). For some traditions, Lent is a time of subtraction, where something is given up. Often, that something is a practice or substance blocking our relationship with God.
Lent is a time of addition in other traditions, where something is added to our lives. That could be a new devotional practice or a more robust bible reading schedule. Either way, Lent is designed to be something that enhances the freedom and the re-creation that Easter explodes into our lives. In this sermon, Dr. Hope Lee is preaching from Nehemiah 8 about the discovery of the word of God and the reading of it by Ezra in the presence of thousands of people in Jerusalem. She suggests many dynamics of the Christian life that flow for us out of encounters with the word of God. I can think of no better Lenten practice than to deepen our engagement with scripture for these next weeks—May this sermon trigger such a practice for us all.
The Ukrainian Needed Prayer. The Russian Volunteered.
Sarah Breuel, who is in a mentoring group (Rolling Stones) led by Anne Grizzle and Heidi Heart, shared a powerful story. We recently shared with you about her other group, The Emerging Revivalist in Europe, that just met, and in July, she and the ‘Lausanne Global Younger Leaders’ will meet. In the mentoring gathering with the ‘Rolling Stones’ last week, she shared this story that Christianity Today pickup. The dialogue is a retelling of an emergency global prayer meeting held by Lausanne Europe on Thursday:
“I live in Sumy, a Ukrainian city of about 250,000 people near the Russian border. One week ago, my husband insisted that I take our kids and my mother and evacuate. While we made it to the United States, he stayed behind.
I immediately began panicking on Thursday. What was happening in Sumy? Where was my husband? Was he safe? When I finally got ahold of him, he told me he had woken up to the sounds of bombs. He was now snarled in traffic as he tried to drive out of the city. I scrolled through pictures on my phone of long gas station lines and people sleeping in metro stations and read the government announcement banning men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country. Will I see my husband again? When? My 93-year-old grandma is alone… my team… my friends… our house….
I struggled to make it through the day. In the afternoon, I joined an international prayer call organized by the Lausanne Movement in light of the invasion. When the host asked how I was doing, I cried. I was angry. I felt betrayed, broken, and stepped on by Russia. I told everyone I was scared for my husband and my friends in Kyiv, praying at that moment about whether they should evacuate.
Then the host asked if someone could pray for me. My friend Alexey volunteered. My Russian friend, Alexey.
Please take a few minutes and read the rest of the conversation Sarah shared here.