Fourteen thousand kilometres from here, there is a war. Azerbaijan has attacked the Armenian people who live in Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh).
In 2006 and 2007, I had the privilege of spending some weeks in this beautiful place – meeting its people, spending time in the villages, playing with the local children and teaching them the Bible and the sure hope of eternal life in Jesus.
Now, with each day I hear news of the recent conflict, I am devastated for these people, for the children I met all those years ago – many of whom are now at an age where they would be signing up to defend their homes and families and land; land where they have lived for longer than those who seek it by force.
On October 22, the NSW Legislative Assembly recognised the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, 61votes to 2. The motion also condemned the current attacks by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh. I’m so thankful to our State Government for recognising these injustices.
Yet, the conflict continues.
Background: What's behind the conflict?
War is a great thief – it takes lives and leaves us with the memory of the horrors of which we are capable. It exposes us to humanity’s terrifying capacity for evil and reminds us of the fragility of life, and the heartache of death.
I’m praying for peace, justice and an end to this war. But there is no promise in this life that those can be achieved. Human wisdom is so flawed and finite that even the very best of minds and hearts cannot bring perfect justice to this terrible situation. Even if the bombs stop and the guns are stood down, there are still the dead to bury. And who will give them justice?
There is only one who can. It is he who not only died, but rose again to life. Because it’s only the perfect Son of God, Jesus Christ, who can bring lasting justice and peace.
It’s a justice that is sure and true, that cannot be bought off, or manipulated, or silenced. A justice that cuts every soul to its core and exposes each of our hearts for what they are. It’s a terrible, perfect justice. It’s justice I would not want to face, because I know my heart is a deep well of sin: often selfish, angry and hateful.
And there is a peace, too. A peace that surpasses this war, this life and its death. It’s a peace with God the Father. And it’s a peace available to every man, woman and child in this world – for all who turn to Christ as Lord.
So I pray for God’s justice – because it is right. And I pray for God’s mercy – because without it, I am as guilty as the next. And I pray for peace – that every man, woman and child, on either side of this conflict. would know the lasting peace of God the Father through the mercy he shows us in his Son.
Two thousand years ago, in the greatest war crime this world has ever seen, mankind exposed the depths of its sinful heart when we turned away from God and killed his Son. And God let it happen – not because he was powerless, but because by this greatest evil, we might know the greatest peace with our eternal God.
So, if you pray, pray for peace, justice and an end to this war – that more countries will follow the lead of our NSW parliament and other nations who have condemned the injustices committed against the people of Artsakh. Pray also for those involved, that they would each know the eternal peace of God in Jesus.
Anglican Aid has opened an appeal for refugees from the conflict in Armenia, partnering with the Armenian Christian Mission.
Find out more here: https://anglicanaid.org.au/prayer-and-aid-for-armenia