Kirk Braddan

A letter from the Vicar

From the March edition of Branch, the Kirk Braddan parish magazine


Selflessness and bringing people together are the essence of leadership.

It is in our power to guarantee with words and deeds that the light side of human nature will prevail … and this stands above anything else.

We are nearing the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: an act of unconscionably wanton greed, destruction and self-interest. While that year has revealed shocking examples of man's inhumanity to man, the two quotes above illustrate some things which were obvious from the very beginning.

First, leadership is a quality we rarely see exhibited in the ways it has by Volodymyr Zelensky. The first quote was said of him on 8th February when he visited the UK Parliament, and spoke of the profound qualities seen in someone who refused to abandon his people in their time of greatest need.

Both Britain and America offered the president safe passage, but he defied Putin's oncoming cowardice by standing firm in the face of what were first thought to be insurmountable odds.

"I need ammunition, not a ride …" was the reply which has gone down in lore as his response to America. Despite a column of tanks several miles long threatening the capital where he remained.

Here he proved that leadership is greater than power. Leadership shows the world what is required when providing for those who rely on it. Few in history have characterised leadership as succinctly as a democratically-elected comedian who stood on a platform of anti-corruption.

When compared to someone who craves power, Zelensky casts a long shadow over a bully who sits far from the battle, hiding in a bunker behind the deaths of conscripts.

The Russian people are now riven in their generations between those conditioned to believe the state line and those awakening to the reality: that Russia is dominated not by a leader, but a coward who imprisons and poisons his opponents. Someone who pays for his war with the blood of innocents.

A Herod for today.

That contrast of leadership is matched well to the second quote, from Zelensky himself, also on the 8th February when talking about what it means to overcome evil.

He equated the British and Ukrainian resolves in fighting the blight on God's creation. He recognised how WWII was one of those few times when the difference between good and evil is laid bare starkly enough for us to take sides without any grey areas.

In doing so, he reminded us of our own part in upholding Christianity's millennia-long battle in overcoming humanity's greatest weakness: do we, when we are tested, align ourselves to the side of goodness and light?

When it is in our power to guarantee with words and deeds the sanctity and safety of what God gives us, do we choose that above what is easy?

Zelensky's challenge to choose goodness echoes Christ's greatest commandment: choose love.

As Lent is the time when we must make even greater efforts to turn from evil and choose love, there is perhaps no greater time for those two emblems of leadership: selflessness and seeing goodness prevail.

So please pray for an innocent nation to return to its peace. Pray for soldiers to live and not be sent to a ruinous end. Pray for truth in a society dominated by lies.

Finally, pray the whole world remembers the lessons of history and reverses its obsession with power: that those who aspire to leadership follow the example of a solitary figure who stood before a court of cowards. And who overcame the world.

Бог благословитЬ Україну
God bless Ukraine