Susanna Kokkonen
Speaker on anti-Semitism; the Holocaust; Persecution of Christians

Please, Please, Pray!

One can hardly remain neutral in this situation. When a tinier country faces a larger one with a powerful military, it reminds me of 1939. This is the fateful time following the Ribbentrop-Molotov Accord. Two dominant powers split Europe into their spheres of influence.

1939 is the year when Finland fought against a large army. At that point people went to church and prayed. Our president Kyösti Kallio called for national prayer. Our Chief of Staff Mannerheim had several Bibles in his use. There was the military conflict, as we know it, but there was also another conflict, fought in a different way. This in itself is not in any way a strange thought. Both Judaism and Christianity understand that there is a zone where the physical meets the spiritual. Some things can only be explained in a spiritual way.

So, when historians speak about the “Winter War Miracle”, it is that of a small nation beating a mighty enemy.

Will it be repeated?

My heart goes out to the Ukrainians. I read updates from Ukrainian church leaders forced into this dangerous and chaotic situation. Individuals choose to stay in their country even when they could leave. It is unprecedented in this age and time that President Zelensky rejected an offer of a flight to the USA. Instead he chose to stay – a much harder and much more honorable thing. Something about the courage and fighting spirit of the people and their leader touch us deeply. In the age of selfishness and power-hunger, to sacrifice for your country is an uncommon and heroic act.

It hurts me so deeply that some -even among my friends- spread propaganda and lies. Some have fallen into the pit of antisemitic accusations. Having said that, the vast majority are praying for peace. We need to pray for peace because the issue is much larger than a territorial issue. What a price the victims of this war are praying. And, who knows, what could be the ultimate price?

This is no ordinary time. This is no ordinary blog. Allow me to write in a manner of an appeal. I am challenging everyone, Jews and Christians, to pray. We all know that G-d is capable of doing more than we can think or ask for.

Please, Please, Pray.

About the Author
Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, originally from Finland, lived in Israel for twenty years. She has a Doctorate in Holocaust Studies. She has pioneered Jewish-Christian relations including at Yad Vashem, as the Director of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem. She travels around the world speaking in churches, synagogues and civic gatherings. Her book 'Journey to the Holocaust' is available in Finnish, Swedish and English translations.
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