From Pastor Ivan: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” Ps. 133:1. It is difficult to put in words the joy of meeting with brothers and sisters at a church service in the midst of a wartime. Ever since the beginning of the full scale war, our capital city has been subject to strict martial law regulations. The Kyiv region was one of the first to be attacked. Immediately the life and ministry of the church were completely redefined and reformed. Although many members of the church had to evacuate to a safe place, part of the church remained in Kyiv. We continue to distribute humanitarian aid, deliver food and medicine to those in need.
Some members of our congregation took up arms and went to the territorial defense battalions. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our collective worship services, because our meeting place, due to its proximity to the Government block, could become a target for rockets or bombs. For the past several Sundays, we were limited to online sermons and devotion at home. We looked forward to our daily evening prayer meetings, when we met online every evening for prayer and fellowship.
All of us felt very acute need of a live, face to face, collective worship service on the Lord’s day. The disturbing news from the front line, stress and anxiety only contributed to this longing. Finally, this past Sunday, April 10, we managed to get together for the worship service in the building of the ERSU Seminary.
Notwithstanding the wartime, our joy knew no bounds. We savoured every moment of this divine service. We sang our well-known Christian hymns, fervently prayed for the needs of the church and our long-suffering country, soaked up the readings of God’s Word and meditated on the words of the sermon. Despite the fact that we were few, God’s presence in this service was so special and more tangible than ever. The Lord spoke to the heart of each of us through His Word and evoked a response in the depths of every soul.
After the benediction, we, completely neglecting and forgetting the Covid restrictions, hugged, talked with each other and enjoyed the refreshments. We just didn’t want to leave. Everyone understood that live, face to face worship service just has no alternative in our earthly life. When we finally parted, encouraged and spiritually strengthened, we realised that we were already looking forward to our next worship service to our Lord in the assembly of brothers and sisters.