Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
20 March 2022
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
Let us continue to pray for an end to the war in Ukraine.
I thought it important to include here, excerpts from an open letter I came across on Premier, drawn up by Dr. Andrey Kordochkin, a Russian Orthodox Priest, that has already been signed by 286 of his fellow Russian Orthodox Priests. This is a very brave act and who knows what the reaction of Vladimir Putin will be. It is a ‘Call For Reconciliation And To End The War.’ It begins:
“We, the priest and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church … appeal to everyone on whom the cessation of fratricidal war in Ukraine depends, with a call for reconciliation and an immediate ceasefire. This appeal is sent out after ‘Last Judgment Sunday’ and on the eve of ‘Forgiveness Sunday,’ with a reminder that The Last Judgment awaits every person – No earthly authority, no doctors, no guards will protect from this Judgment … We mourn the trial that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine were undeservedly subjected to. We remind you that the life of every person is a priceless and unique gift of God, and therefore we wish the return of all soldiers – both Russian and Ukrainian – to their homes and families safe and sound. We bitterly think about the abyss that our children and grandchildren in Russia and Ukraine will have to overcome in order to once again begin to be friends with each other, respect and love each other. We respect the God-given freedom of man, and we believe that the people of Ukraine should make their choice on their own, not at gunpoint, without pressure from the West or the East.
In anticipation of Forgiveness Sunday, we remind you that the gates of paradise are opened to anyone, even a seriously sinned person, if he asks for forgiveness from those whom he humiliated, insulted, despised, or from those who were killed by his hands or by his order. There is no other way but forgiveness and mutual reconciliation. ‘The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground; and now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive the blood of your brother from your hand,” God said to Cain, who was envious of his younger brother. Woe to every person who realises that these words are addressed to him personally. No non-violent call for peace and an end to war should be forcibly suppressed and considered as a violation of the law, for such is the divine commandment: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ We call on all warring parties to dialogue, because there is no other alternative to violence. Only the ability to hear the other can give hope for a way out of the abyss into which our countries were thrown in just a few days.
Let yourself and all of us enter Great Lent in the spirit of faith, hope and love.”
Stop the war
Priest and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church who wish to sign the letter can write to: .
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the bravery of your Church and for those who stand up and call for peace even at risk of their own lives. Father, we pray that this letter may have a mighty impact on Vladimir Putin and all those supporting him. We pray that your Holy Spirit would use this letter to convict them of their need to repent and seek reconciliation with Yourself, and also with those in Ukraine whom they have harmed, even killed.
Father, we pray for your protection for your people at this time and Lord that you would work all this for good as Your people continue to cry out to you for an end to this war, in Jesus Christ who is our peace, who has made the two one, Amen.