It is humbling in the best possible way to discover how much we need one another to understand God. Here’s where we begin to understand how, in addition to children, Jesus taught that the outcast understood the kingdom. (Smith, Mandy. “Unfettered” pg 60)
Day 14 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Every day, until Russia ends this brutal occupation, I will be starting my blog with a focus for our prayers. We need to pray for the safety of the citizens of Mariupol. The besieged seaport city is out of water and electricity in the cold end of winter. Russia has, twice now, promised a humanitarian corridor for citizens to be able to safely flee the chaos, only to begin dropping artillery on unarmed citizens. This is disgusting and exposes the true evil of the Russian Empire. Pray for the hearts of every Russian soldier, that they will be brave enough to lay down their arms and turn their convoys around, and head back to the motherland.
While governments around the world are scared to get involved, thousands of Crusaders are heading to Ukraine to join the fight for the sovereignty of these innocent people. President Zelenskyy has waved visas for anyone willing to fight in their International Defense Legion of Ukraine. This is a unique moment in humanity’s history. What will your part be in this? I hope at the very least, you are praying for these people, talking about this tragedy with friends, coworkers, fellow parishioners. I was very proud of my Church in the first weekend of this war for not just praying over Ukraine in the service, but calling for the church body to come to the main foyer, where the Ukrainian flag flies next to the United States flag. Compassion Church has partner churches in the Ukraine and we all prayed for those faithful warriors, for their safety, for their ability to continue to help those in need in this small Christian country. If you want to do more, write your senators and your congressman and tell them you want the United States to be involved. I can not speak for every single soldier in our United States Army, but I know for every single soldier I have talked to since this began, they are all willing and wanting to be involved in this conflict. There are thousands of US Veterans already in Ukraine and I am sure there are thousands more heading that way, willing to risk their lives for total strangers, but knowing that this is a calling and a just cause. Fighting for the protection of innocent civilians against a much larger military power is Kingdom work. Even a child can realize that. As Ms. Mandy Smith wrote in her book, “Unfettered,” the child and the outcast best understand the kingdom. I love the first sentence above, because we do need each other to understand the beauty of God. I need my children to remind me everyday of the miracle of God and the love of Jesus. Their steadfast faith, innocent joy refreshes my soul when the evils around the world are constantly threatening to overrun the hope I have for a lasting revival to sweep this country and then the world.
I also need music to lift up my soul. And of music, I have a soft spot for a good hip-hop album. It is what I grew up as a child of the 80s, reaching adolescence in the 90s when rap and hip-hop was driving every parent crazy and giving teenagers something to pop their shoulders too. So when some of my favorite Christian hip-hop artists drop new albums, I get really excited. Trip Lee’s new banger, “The End.”, is filled with fresh beats and quick, meaningful lyrics. This song below has rhymes that need to be played, heard, and translated around the world. With lines like “Who said the mark of a good Disciple is a new rifle?”, this song could easily become the rally cry for inner cities around our country, but is, obviously, words the entire world needs to consider.