By Pastor Vinnie Cappetta
"Weeping for Putin and Ourselves"
Many of us wonder how we should respond to the war in Ukraine.
Tan Johnson argues that tears should be at the top of the list…“If obsessing on news reports is not the best of all responses to violence and tragedy, what is? While better responses include comforting the afflicted, joining a cleanup crew, donating money, or getting involved in settings that promote reconciliation, there is another important response in which off-site folks can participate: the ongoing weeping with God, whose heartthrobs when humans harm and oppress each other. Whether the violence is directed at us, surrounds us, or even rises up within us, we can train our heart to grieve on a regular basis in order to release our claim on vengeance because we are children of God. Such weeping is, I believe, an ongoing discipline for those in whom God dwells. Sandwiched between scripture's difficult biddings to "bless those who persecute you" and "live in harmony with one another" is the command: "weep with those who weep" (Rom.12:14-16)..In Christian spiritual tradition, certain kinds of weeping are a charism, or gift of the Spirit. Captured in the Greek word penthos, such weeping involves a broken and contrite heart and inward godly sorrow. Stories of the Desert Fathers often include the bidding to stay in one's cell and weep for one's sins. "Useful" grief included "weeping over one's own faults and weeping over the weakness of one's neighbours." Itis this latter action, weeping over others' bent live sand the evil phase they have chosen, and even for the redemption of their lives that helps us respond to tragedy and disaster without vengeance.”
-Tan Johnson, "Weeping with God as a Spiritual Discipline”
Let us first weep for our own sins and then let us weep for the sins of others.