Statio: Pausing to Pray for Ukraine
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
We are embarking on our journey through Lent together, leaning into the tension of our Christian reality, which always includes both the “already” and the “not yet.”
The liminal space.
The threshold moment.
An open-handed or closed-fist tension between what was and what will be.
As women, we are quite familiar with transition moments. We know what it means to stand in between two spaces in a life cycle and recognize that what is past was enriching and what is to come is promising, even while what is now is disorienting.
Lent makes space for the in-between times, inviting us to welcome them rather than to resist them.
Jesus’ wilderness season was an in-between space. God himself knew a season of waiting and unfulfilled expectation, marked with a sense of dryness, loneliness, and more open space than was comfortable for a human heart.
Through Lent and its practices, we learn to live with honesty and hope in the threshold spaces of life.
A beautiful way to open ourselves to God’s life and work in our in-between seasons is to learn the art of the pause.
There’s an actual spiritual practice for this…it’s called “Statio,” and it translates from Latin as “I stand” or “I remain.” Monks and nuns practice it to mark the movement between one thing and the next thing, recollecting themselves and recollecting God with them. In Statio, we stop, breathe, and recollect. (For more, watch this video from Brian Hohmeier.)
For the next several weeks, we will be stopping, breathing, and recollecting as we seek God in the liminal spaces.
Today, we stop to pause at the threshold of a just-beginning war in Ukraine. It’s tempting to turn away in impotence, or to normalize in order to make sense, or to be consumed with the fuel of righteous indignation—all very legitimate human responses to the ugly, senseless agony of evil when it is unleashed on humanity in such an indiscriminate way.
But we are invited to pause. To stand and bear witness to the pregnant pain of this reality. To cry out to God “How long?” and to pray with the Church “Lord, have mercy,” even as we also stop long enough to recollect the faithful love of Jesus—the Christ who is God with us in the darkness of unjust human suffering and loss.
Would you Statio with us today, one week into Lent and two weeks into a merciless war, to stop, to breathe, to recollect, and to pray?
Stop: Look at the clock. Mark the time and the day. Note where you are. Perhaps close your eyes for ten or fifteen seconds to come to a complete stop.
Breathe: Inhale deeply. Exhale fully. Twice. Become aware of the gift of grace that is the life in your lungs.
Recollect: Collect yourself. What is yours to do this day? What have you set your mind on or your hands to today? Thank God for that gift. Recollect God. Imagine God’s face turned toward you in love. What does God’s gaze reveal? Imagine God’s body, in Jesus, walking and weeping and struggling with the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia. What does God’s compassion look like?
Pray: In this moment of liminality, holding hope for something that is not yet reality, offer a prayer to the God who sees.
A Prayer for Ukraine
(Church of England)
God of peace and justice,
We pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion
to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
We are grateful for you,
The Kaleid Team