War changes everything suddenly: a once-busy Kyiv subway station with professionals heading to their offices is now overflowing with frightened mothers and grandfathers, children and pets seeking refuge from bomb blasts nearby. Civilian men aged 18 to 60 have been called up overnight to handle weapons to defend their country from an all-out invasion.
Wartime provokes serious reflection and questions. In 1941, when England was at war with Nazi Germany, the BBC asked Oxford professor CS Lewis to explain how the Christian faith could speak to their cultural moment. Lewis’s first episode—and there would be many more—was titled “Right and Wrong: A clue to the meaning of the universe?” In it, Lewis discussed the idea of “common decency” and invited his radio listeners to consider how the unmistakable reality of right and wrong presents a sobering view of our world and ourselves.
His wartime broadcasts were later compiled into his book Mere Christianity. In his opening chapter, Lewis looks back upon England’s war with Hitler and argues that “the human idea of decent behaviour was obvious to every one.” If it were not, he continues,
Then all the things we said about the war were nonsense. What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practised? If they had had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have had to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the colour of their hair.
The war in Ukraine may be far away, but its people are ever before us. Even though we don’t know them personally, seeing their suffering presses us to consider our ultimate questions about humanity: Why are we outraged about evil? Why do we fail to love our neighbor? Why are we so moved by acts of courage and compassion? As we continue to ask these questions amid sudden changes and wait to see what will happen, might we hear the cries of the Ukrainian people, see their humanity, and pray to God—the God who sees the trouble of the afflicted—to intervene (Psalm 10).
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Danielle Durant invites others to join her in unearthing the perpetual wonders of beauty and truth found in the ageless drama of Scripture. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the College of Charleston (Charleston, SC) and a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA). Danielle is passionate about all things running, nature, and her expressive Maine Coon cat, Simeon.