Across the Pastor’s Desk: Prayer for peace in time of war
Published 8:00 pm Friday, April 1, 2022
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Todd Walsh
I am sharing a prayer with you in this column. It comes from Dietrich Brauer, archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia. He wrote it and published it after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.
Dear brothers and sisters in Russia and Ukraine, peace be with you! Do not stop praying together for peace and opposition to evil. This is commanded to us by Christ. And may God keep us all in this difficult time in his faithful hands! Lord, have mercy on us sinners.
“Peace, as his precious covenant,
The Lord bequeathed to us to keep.
He the Reconciler of the whole universe,
Promised the victory of life.
But how many times have we again trampled
In the dirt his sacred gift,
And unfoundedly declared,
There will never be a war.
Lord, have mercy on us sinners
And pour out your grace.
May hell not swallow up
Your senseless children.
Grant enlightenment to the blind leaders,
Put your love into their hearts.
Send the arrogant admonition.
Do not let the blood of the innocent be shed.
After all, no one will find his paradise
By strength, power and wealth.
Peoples, countries, human brotherhood
Lives by you alone, Lord.
Yours in the love of Christ,”
— Dietrich Brauer, archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia
Recall that Russia approved a law essentially forbidding public opposition to the war against Ukraine. The prayer above and a sermon Archbishop Brauer preached after the start of the war came to the attention of the authorities and put him at risk. Archbishop Brauer therefore fled Russia with his wife and three children. They are safe in Germany. And he and his wife, who is also a pastor, continue their opposition to the war and from afar they continue also their ministry to their flock in Russia.
The Lutheran cathedral in Moscow shares its space with a Baptist congregation. And they together have been organizing the shipment of relief supplies to refugees who are in Russia. They are also supporting efforts in Ukraine to deliver relief supplies and to help people leave Ukraine.
The sermon that jeopardized the safety of Archbishop Brauer speaks of what motivates him and the people he serves.
“It is God’s business, Christ’s business to bring the sacrifice of love, redemption, forgiveness, so that there are no more senseless human sacrifices. The cross was at Calvary set up to lead us out of the bloody vicious circle. The holy God humbles himself in the guise of a servant, a criminal, an outcast and worthless people to touch our hearts and fill them with peace so that we regain dignity and humanity. Jesus did everything for it. And he still is in his spirit with us.”
May God bless Dietrich Brauer and all those he serves. And may the same God bless, inspire and move us all to serve that God and live that life as humanity redeemed and at peace.
Todd Walsh is director of spiritual care services at Thorne Crest Senior Living Community in Albert Lea.