As I am writing this there is war in Ukraine and much of the news broadcasts is devoted to this. How it will all end is unclear at this time. But no doubt it will end one day. The news media will move on to the next story, but the scars will take time to heal if at all. A few days ago I was walking in woods that had been previously felled during the Second World War by men from Newfoundland. By that time bulldozers were being introduced as a means of making tracks so that the timber could be extracted. The fact that Newfoundland was sending men to fell trees rather than fight alongside the British Army was in part due to the experience of the Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme when the suffered terribly high casualties. After the war the hillside was bare for several miles, it took decades to completely replant the woodland felled. In the meantime the tracks made the Newfies’ bulldozers were livid scars on the hillside including the one shown in the picture above. But as you can see the forest has re-established itself and the evidence of the wartime scars has diminished over the years. From the valley below there is no sign of this track.
Sadly, there is no indication that a lasting peace ill happen anytime soon, especially a just peace. Though the emphasis of the action appears to be shifting further east. However, we need to be careful that we are not fooled by propaganda which is coming from both sides. There are claims and counter claims concerning “war crimes.” Though by invading through the Chernobyl radioactive exclusion zone it could be argued that the Russians have committed a war crime against their own soldiers, many of whom seem to have suffered severe radiation sickness if reports are true. This is unusual if not unique.
The wounds are too raw at the present time to begin the process of reconciliation and forgiveness, much as the outsiders we are might wish. Jesus told us to love our enemies and to reconcile with those we are in dispute with. But I doubt that many Ukrainians feel like forgiving the Russians who have invaded their land any time soon. A just peace must come first, but this does not appear to be likely to happen any time soon. Even so the scars will remain though they may not be obvious.
David G. Rose, 2022.