Slideshow image

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has reached pitched levels this week, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials, as Russia directed the might of its artillery and missile systems on an already devastated 75-mile stretch of land straddling the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. This comes while a court in central Ukraine sentenced two Russian soldiers on Tuesday to eleven and a half years in prison for shelling a town in the country’s northeast during the war. It was the second guilty verdict handed down by Ukrainian courts for war crimes since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February. Additionally, European Union leaders wrapped up their meeting in Brussels, which brought the breakthrough on the new package of sanctions against Russia, including the long-debated ban on Russian oil. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, told reporters on Tuesday: “Yesterday, in the middle of the night we decided to have a ban on de facto 90 percent of Russian oil imports to the European Union by the end of the year. And this comes at a time when we see that Russia has disrupted supplies to five member states. So our answer has to be very clear.”

God, we pray that the horrors of our world - whether in Ukraine or elsewhere - never fade to the back of our minds to be forgotten. Lord, help us find both rest and joy, and also commit our lives to identifying with the vulnerable, and to doing everything to alleviate that suffering. Help, O Lord.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government introduced legislation Monday that would put a freeze on importing, buying or selling handguns. "We are capping the number of handguns in this country," Trudeau said. The regulations to halt the growth of personally owned handguns is expected to be enacted this fall. "It will be illegal to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada," the prime minister said. Canada already has plans to ban 1,500 types of military-style firearms and offer a mandatory buyback program that will begin at the end of the year. It already expanded background checks. Trudeau has long had plans to enact tougher gun laws but the introduction of the new measure comes after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., this month.

God of the mourning, something must be done. Whether this legislation comes to pass, it’s clear that the disease of violence has festered beyond simple solutions. Is this the world you long for, Jesus? One of ‘freedom at any cost’, regardless of how many worshippers, children, or grocery shoppers are slaughtered in the process? The ideologies that prop up a gun-obsessed culture did not come down from Sinai, Lord - remind us of this.


God, we pray for all those in our worldwho are suffering from injustice:For those who are discriminated againstbecause of their race, color or religion;For those imprisonedfor working for the relief of oppression;For those who are houndedfor speaking the inconvenient truth;For those tempted to violenceas a cry against overwhelming hardship;For those deprived of reasonable health and education;For those suffering from hunger and famine;For those too weak to help themselvesand who have no one else to help them;For the unemployed who cry outfor work but do not find it.We pray for anyone of our acquaintancewho is personally affected by injustice.Forgive us, Lord, if we unwittingly share in the conditionsor in a system that perpetuates injustice.Show us how we can serve your childrenand make your love practical by washing their feet.