The news and images from Ukraine attest to the atrocities occurring there. Reports state that the Ukrainian government is documenting evidence that actions taken by Russian forces against Ukrainian civilians fall under the designation of war crimes. We have heard the news, and the stories and pictures weigh heavy upon us. We know this is one more—one more place, one more people, one more generation inflicted with the violent tragedy of war. It weighs heavy upon us as we wonder, “What are we to do?”

Each week we will continue to share the information offered by Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries. There are suggestions for contacting lawmakers in response to the Ukrainian crisis and the needs of Afghan refugees. Also, there is a call for prayers. Prayers for the people of Ukraine. Prayers for humanitarian aid workers. Prayers for our leaders and others around the world to help the people in need. Prayers for Vladimir Putin to admit the error of his actions. Prayers of lament. Prayers of hope.

Today, in response to the devastation inflicted by Russian troops in Bucha (a suburb of Kyiv) we share one such prayer in the form of a poem written by one of our members, John Indermark.

On Seeing Bucha  
Seeing Bucha
On Sunday, its liturgy was blasphemous
                    An old man lying alongside his bike
                    Plastic ties around wrists that preceded the kill shot
                    A hand and a foot exposed from the sand half-filling a trench
Seeing Bucha
         The very name stung with reverberations
                    In German, buche is the word for “beech tree”
                    In German, wald is the word for “forest”
                              In Germany, Buchenwald carried out the genocidal fever of Nazis
                              In Ukraine, Bucha endured the same
Seeing Bucha
            Recalled for me the story told by Elie Wiesel in Night 
                    A teenager himself imprisoned in Auschwitz,
                   Wiesel and the rest of the camp witness the hanging of three prisoners
                              One of them is a boy
                                      Whose dying exceeds half an hour because of his small size
                   As the agony stretches on, a man behind Wiesel asks outloud
                              For God’s sake, where is God? 
                   Wiesel reports that he then heard a small voice inside him answer:
                              Where is He? This is where – hanging here from this gallows . . .  
Seeing Bucha
            God is seen – in an old man, in bound wrists, in a sandy trench
                       For if God is not there, God will never be seen.
   John Indermark   April 5 2022