Evening Prayer, Good Friday


Scripture: Luke 23: 50-56a

Christ has died.  The disciples lose hope.  They don’t know that the Resurrection will occur.  But in Ukraine, there’s no prospect of a happy ending   The events of the last six weeks will leave multi-generational hatred between Ukrainians and Russians.


Like a tragic movie

The Holy Week narrative is like one of those movies in which you can foresee early on that things are going to work out badly for the movie’s hero. That kind of movie would end on Good Friday.

It would be hard to imagine the devastation of Jesus’ close disciples. In the words of an old hymn, they had ‘turned from home and toil and kindred, leaving all for his dear sake.’ It must have seemed to them as though their own lives were at an end. What would they do now? Clearly, the Messiah-thing had failed.

But the movie has another reel

However, we know – because we know how the story continues – that Good Friday wasn’t the end. We know, and the disciples discovered, that here was another reel to the movie.

In some inexplicable way, the disciples found out that Jesus’ death wasn’t the end. Even though he was physically dead, he lived on. We call it the Resurrection. However, if we are honest, we can’t completely understand it or explain it. Nevertheless, in their lives, those disciples experienced a ‘happy ending’ to today’s tragedy.

No happy endings in Ukraine

That thought made me think about all the people in Ukraine whose lives have been unalterably changed by death and destruction. For them, there’s no happy ending. Their loved ones won’t come back – at least, in this life.

And, when death from illness, accident, or old age brings grief in its wake, most of us eventually accept our loss and begin to rebuild our lives. Even for grieving Ukrainians, the deaths of those who died fighting for their country can have the meaning that they died in the service of a greater cause.

But there will be no consolation for the loved ones of those who died – were murdered – by senseless brutality. The women raped and left naked in the streets. The men shot in the head with their hands tied behind their backs. The griefs of those survivors will live on as long as they do. And also, it will leave a festering hatred between Ukrainians and Russians for generations – probably for centuries.

Vladimir Putin. How would you feel if gangs of thugs raped your two daughters and left them naked and lifeless in the street?

We ask, what kind of men would do such things? Except that Russian soldiers have form  They have done exactly these things before. In 1945, when Soviet armies so-called ‘liberated’ eastern Europe from the horrors of Nazism. And so we ask further. Did Vladimir Putin approve his brutal thuggery? Or, are his soldiers so woefully trained that they are beyond control by their military leaders?