It’s Easter Monday. There are flowers everywhere in my neighborhood. Yesterday there were bright blossoms all over and around the church. If you’re Christian and spent time in church over this past week, you’ve likely been through an emotional roller coaster ride consisting of the festive mood of Palm Sunday celebrations; the solemnity of Maundy Thursday and foot-washing; the agonizing arrest, trial, and execution of Jesus on Good Friday; the emptiness of “what’s next?” on Holy Saturday; and the return of hope and dawning joy with the Easter Vigil and Sunday’s glad focus on the Resurrection. (Yes, I did them all, plus Tenebrae on Wednesday!)

Perhaps because of my Lenten discipline this year to pray for Putin, I found myself thinking of spring this year in Ukraine. As I type this, it’s raining there. Rain brings spring floods to Ukraine, as well as blossoms. Neither the floods nor the flowers pay any attention to war; they flow and flower anyway. Most likely, the floods make the Ukrainians’ lives harder. Perhaps the flowers give them a bit of hope.

It’s also not Easter yet in Ukraine. The Orthodox Christian calendar is slightly different from the Roman Catholic and Protestant calendar (you can learn more about the reasons for that here), so Easter is still a week away. That feels heavily symbolic to me. Easter hope is likely hard to find for the people of Ukraine right now—despite my prayers for Putin and for the people of Ukraine.

Yet “hope springs eternal,” as my mother told me in my younger days. This phrase shows up in numerous book, film, and music titles. It’s in our nature to seek hope. The human soul is stronger than the floods and wars that tear us down. The Ukrainian people are living through that reality now. Jesus’ followers lived through that reality after he was crucified. They found a way to move on. No matter what we’re going through, hope will spring up as inevitably as spring flowers, no matter what.

Please join me in praying for hope to spring eternal in the hearts of the Ukrainian people and all others living in the far-too-many war-torn areas of our world. May all wars cease—and soon! May all who are oppressed find hope and liberation. May all human beings find peace, in our hearts and with each other. May we be instigators and instruments of hope in all that we do.

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