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  • Writer's pictureJoe Cherry

Renewing Faith

I sit down to write my monthly column on the first day of atrocious violence committed by Russia against the people of the Ukraine. I stared for a long time at a blank page, a blinking cursor, waiting for words to come.

In March we are asking the theological question “What does it mean to be a people of renewing faith?” And I wonder how to hold this hopeful message in such a time as this.

This invasion happens two years into a global pandemic. This invasion happens at a time when I, as a person, am tired. This invasion happens as the rest of the world prays for peace.

How can I renew my faith at this moment?

Perhaps the answer is this: it is a moment, precisely this moment, that I need to dig deeper into my faith in humanity. I need to reassert my belief that it is required of each of us to lift up the value of each person, to reassert my understanding that we are all interconnected.

My heart breaks not just for the civilians of the Ukraine, but for the Russian soldiers who will one day have to come to terms with the violence they bring down on their cousins. I hope my faith is strong enough to hold them in care when that time comes.

Faith is not easy. Cheap, knee jerk reactions are easy. Faith is hard.

Faith doesn’t mean that I have all of the answers, but that I must keep seeking them. Faith does not mean that I know what to do at this moment. Faith is….

As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr teaches us:

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

My first step is to remember that I have faith in our shared humanity. My second step was to call the Priest of the nearest Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to offer assistance to their cleric, born himself in the Ukraine, and ask, clumsily, awkwardly and honestly “Can I be of help?”

My third step is yet unknown. I can’t see that far ahead, but I will keep stepping.

Your minister,

Rev. Joe

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Rev. Joe Cherry

Rev. Joe is a biracial, gay, Unitarian Universalist minister, and history nerd. He lives in North Easton, Massachusetts, with his husband, Rev. Denis Paul, and their dog, Toulouse.

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