Friday, January 24, 2014

Men of faith, men of steel

Earlier this week, in the course of an evening prayer gathering with @dreampcusa on Twitter, one of our partners offered up a prayer for the priests in Kiev. We joined in with that request, of course ... but part of me was wondering, "what's that about?" Once our gathering closed, I went and Googled "priests Kiev," then clicked on the 'News' option for search results ... and I found out exactly what he was talking about, and praying for.

The fact that there were protests in Ukraine in recent weeks was not news ... but it seems that the story had receded under the onslaught of more pressing news items ... Mr. Sherman's AFC Championship rant ... Justin Bieber's Miami vice ... the latest political scandals or rumors-of-scandal ... and, YES, some genuinely serious news items as well.

My Google search at that time produced few reports, the best of which appears below. In the last couple of days, a LOT more stories and images have appeared ... and that's a good thing. These are stories and images of people with the courage to step between warring factions, and stand firmly-but-peacefully between them, separating them at least for a moment, urging everyone in the streets of Kiev to listen to 'the better angels of their nature.'

Priest moves to stop Ukranian protester from
throwing Molotov cocktail at riot police.
The images being generated by the priests' intervention on the streets - and the emotions they generate within us - would be the stuff of dreams for  Hollywood directors, who would be hard-pressed to capture the setting of a battered and burning street scene, the flickering light of bonfires, the hoarse screams of protesters, and the lines in the faces of a bearded, cassocked priest with crucifix in hand (looking for all the world like a centuries-old icon) who has kept watch through a freezing night, praying and chanting, and keeping wtch over the opposing battle lines. It is something far, FAR removed from West Texas ... but very, VERY close to the Christian heart! To borrow from that now-ubiquitous phrase ... we can talk the talk, but can we walk the walk? Can we walk into harm's way as they are, with eyes and hearts open?

And honestly ... I don't think you have to be a person of faith and/or religion to admire the courage being shown by these men … and there are some women, too, doing this on the streets of Kiev.

God bless them, and keep them ... in Jesus' name ... Amen.

Orthodox priests in Ukraine step into line of fire to stop deadly protests

By Carol Kuruvilla
New York Daily News

KIEV, UKRAINE - Holy nerves of steel. A group of Orthodox priests stepped right into the line of fire to stop clashes between protesters and police in Ukraine.

The priests braved bullets and walked into no-man’s land between pro-European Union integration protesters and President Viktor Yanukovych’s riot police. ‘I’m here to placate the violence,’ an Orthodox priest said.

read the rest of this story, with photos

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