In praise of the talking shop

Reflections on the London Consultation

Ukraine is a bloody and unholy mess, with over 1 million internally displaced persons and abuses of every kind wrought upon its people. Not only that, but it is a bloody and unholy mess with the veneer of holiness about it – as soldiers kneel for a priest’s blessing beneath the sign of the cross on their flag and a new church is dedicated to the martyrs of the Russian Special Forces.

Set against such a backdrop, what use are a bunch of people talking in the elegant panelled guardroom of Lambeth Palace, surrounded by its jewel-like gardens? The answer, I believe, is to be found three verses into the Bible ‘God said’. God has taught us the value of speech from the first page of scripture until the Spirit’s last words in Revelation.  Ours is a speaking God, and we do well to imitate Him.

What BMS and Mission Eurasia did yesterday was a gesture of solidarity, described by one speaker as ‘a forgotten virtue in public discourse’. What they did was to put significant people in a room together whose combined insights allow them to speak about Ukraine’s conflict with passion and insight. Seated around the table were Orthodox churchmen in their flowing robes, a Byzantine Catholic with his neatly trimmed beard, British academics and European humanitarian agents. In short, this was a conversation between people who care and people who know. Seated around them were 25 observers, myself included, to see what was done and how.

On display around that table were political acumen, vehement passion, heartfelt sorrow, and faith of the truest calibre. Listen to some of these voices:

  • Seeking causes for the war in Ukraine is a waste of time
  • The best response to war is our unity
  • The situation in Ukraine is knocking on the door of Europe
  • We believe that while we wait, God is working, and God’s love never fails
  • Most important of all is not to lose hope. God is always greater and God is always stronger.
  • The Word of God, even in hopeless situations, brings us hope.

Whether the declaration signed by yesterday’s participants has any lasting value, only time will tell. However, to bring these voices together in a place of prayer and to speak the unspeakable under the watchful eye of a God whose creative speech fashioned a universe could only be a good thing.

Please God that the conversation continues and that the London Consultation is a doorway to hope for the Ukraine.

consultation

2 thoughts on “In praise of the talking shop

  1. Excellent blog, Richard. Thanks for posting. I’m really glad you were able to attend this Consultation and that you found it enjoyable and worthwhile.

    I think that this event has sown very important seeds for the Kingdom of God in Ukraine and the Former Soviet Union.

    Please keep praying for Ukraine.

    JTS

  2. It was an honour to be there, and I hope it proves to be the landmark at the start of a road, rather than just a precious memory

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