On Tuesday, March 1, representatives of the City of Worcester, Massachusetts Federal and State Delegation, and local clergy representing a spectrum of more than a dozen faith traditions, including our own Rev. Cheryl Leshay, gathered with a crowd of 60 citizens to pause for a few minutes midst the winter chill and snow to honor and pray for Ukraine and all her people. The Ukrainian flag was raised in front of City Hall in a show of solidarity. It was another moment when Worcester brought its best self to bear on a hurting world. Below are the words that I shared at the invocation of this solemn event. My personal thanks to all of those from UUCW who gathered with us and to all those who continue to keep the fate and future of Ukraine in their hearts, minds and hands. In the days to come let us find meaningful ways to continue to serve the cause of peace, freedom and justice here and abroad.
Invocation & Flag Raising for Ukraine
March 1, 2022
Rev. Aaron Payson
Worcester City Hall
We come together this evening as a community of concerned people united in our desire to express solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they suffer the ravages of war. We come united with the world that prays peace for those who shout terror. We come with our own anxieties for our global future and the country we call home; to witness the healing power of proximity to neighbors and friends. While alarmed, we come armed only with the desire to form a closer bond to our brothers and sisters here and abroad. We come in the face of dehumanization with the purposeful intent to underscore our common humanity and demand the just end to violence in Ukraine and here at home. Let our time together this evening be an act of prayer and healing for a bruised and hurting world. Let our voices declare the power of a love that will not be silenced by raging rhetoric or bomb blast. We would have the world know that in this community, in times of warfare, we choose the welfare of all. AMEN
As we raise the flag of Ukraine this evening let it reflect here that symbolism which is so meaningful for the citizens of the country it represents. The calm peace of blue sky and the yellow joy of fields of grain. With peace and prosperity foremost in our minds and hearts for the people of Ukraine and all people we gather under its banner and meaning.