“Please Little Dove, fly your olive branch to Russia and Ukraine. Drop it on the leader Putin. Cover his heart with leaves of olive. Drop it on the Russian soldiers, who must have babies at home. Drop it on the ravaged land of Ukraine. Drop it on the innocent little children. Stop the killing, Little Dove, stop the hatred, stop the war.
I know it is a long, long way there. And your wings are just dove wings. And you are harboring that heavy olive branch. But I believe you can do it.
If you read my last Five Friday Happy Bringers post (and why on earth would you not?), you may remember that Robert and I left Savannah to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on its own and journeyed up to our favorite city, Atlanta, for a long weekend.
I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I tend to pay much less attention to the news (usually a blessing). And of course the headlines now are all about the horrors going on in Ukraine.
Robert is retired military, Army (thank you for your service) and gets wonderful free veteran tickets to The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The Alliance Theatre, The Atlanta Ballet, The Atlanta Opera, The High Museum of Art, and midtown Atlanta parking—to name some of the biggies. We very often take advantage of this blessing. (Again, why on earth would you not?)
For this St. Patrick’s trip, we were able to get terrific seats for three performances with the symphony orchestra, theatre and ballet.
What I did not expect was the Ukraine connection in Atlanta.
As I mentioned In Friday ‘s post, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus sang the very moving national anthem of Ukraine. And dedicated the evening to the war torn nation. Several members of the orchestra were Ukrainian.
What was even more surprising was the Ukrainian connection the next night at the Alliance Theatre’s production of Bina’s Six Apples. In the play, “a family must abruptly flee for safety as bombings and battles encroach upon their home. It’s an all too familiar sight right now, as daily images of Russia’s onslaught of Ukraine dominate global news, showing refugees fleeing towns under siege every day … The theme of senseless violence is a powerful and sadly eternal one, given the shattering conflicts that have continually riddled the world and the impact these clashes have on regular people with no direct stake in the conflict.” ArtsATL.
And the matinee of Atlanta Ballet’s Giselle was bittersweet, with the incredibly talented male lead, Denys Needak, being from Odessa, Ukraine.
He was remarkable.
Thank you, Atlanta, for helping me to see. And reminding me to pray.
For this week’s Saturday Evening Post, I share with you excerpts from today’s weekly email from Billy Hester, the pastor of our church here in Savannah — Asbury Memorial.
Dear Asbury & Wesley Oak Family,
I write you with a heavy heart due to the tragedy occurring in Europe. For the first time since World War II, Air Raid Sirens are going off in Kyiv. We are seeing the worst of humanity as Russia invades Ukraine, destroying the lives of countless men, women, and children. More than ever, we need to come together in prayer. I hope you will join me in church this Sunday as I lead us in prayer for the people of these two countries and for the world.
When I was a teenager I was a percussionist in the Savannah Youth Orchestra. But honestly, I wasn’t a very good drummer…as in the snare drum. But I played a pretty mean bass drum. My real speciality was playing the cymbals. I could clash with the best of them! And I got to play the cymbals on my favorite piece of music that we performed, a song called, “The Great Gate of Kiev.” It is one of the most majestic and inspiring songs ever written. Kiev is another way of spelling the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. The song was written to celebrate the Golden Gate that was built to protect Kiev in 1873.
Here is the song. It’s about 9 minutes long. I invite you to pray for the people of Ukraine as you listen to it.
After you spend this 9 minutes in prayer, go back to the 8:00 minute mark of the song and watch the orchestra play the last part of the song. This was my favorite part. It’s when the cymbals really take over. Watch the cymbal player, and imagine little Billy Hester clashing away on the stage at the Civic Center!