Moment's Reflection March 2, 2022

by Dr. Dan Jones on March 2, 2022
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” -Romans 12:15

And now there is Russia and Ukraine. In my life, each war is a variation on a tired theme: wars are waged by generals and their soldiers. But their consequences are paid a hundred times by children, mothers, and fathers. The cost of war, as pictured above, can’t be told by counting decisive battles; rather, by looking into a young boy’s face who weeps into a welcoming stranger’s arms on the Polish border. He is safe, but his father has turned back to fight. He weeps because he fears he may never see him again. Casualties include every such instance of emotional anguish. War is a tragedy. Sometimes necessary, of course. Freedom is expensive. But war is almost always a tragic failure of imagination. When diplomacy fails, instruments of coercion are brought out. Fights have a way of escalating. Regional disputes become global conflagrations. The risk is always escalation. One act of aggression begets the need for another. Wars are failures of imagination because nobody ever seems to know how to make them smaller. I’m encouraged by the Ukrainian resistance. But I fear it is short-lived. Courage and fortitude are no match for overwhelming military power. I suspect Russia’s early resistance may tempt more deadliness. As one military expert predicted recently, “Putin’s early failure will be tomorrow’s double down.” I’m glad I don’t live there. But I feel small in saying that. Fred Rogers used to recall something his mother said. “When there’s trouble, always find the people who are helping. They’re always there.” I see them along Ukraine’s borders. Thank God. I’m tempted to look away. I know there’s no good in ruminating about hard realities I can’t help. But today, I keep looking. I know that prayers are a facile thing to offer in the face of such dire human need. But it’s all I have to offer. -Dan, Lent 2022

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