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“Deadly Brinkmanship,” so describes a journalist’s take on Putin’s reputation as he threatens Ukrainian cities of chemical, biological, cyber, or nuclear weapons—”on special combat readiness”—As well as other nations that support his siege. Sounds like the bully across the lot, his slingshot aimed at the munchkin with the torn jacket giggling behind his back.

So, it’s about power ripped out of context like a sizzling electrical current gone haywire. This has happened before. History bristles with war; many have suffered losses of limb and life and identity, only to rebuild with innovative change and to start families within communities. Such upheavals evoke fresh courage and vision.

Those who do not survive, transition to other realms, their spirits afresh with lightness and emboldened by Jesus’s promise in the gospel of Matthew:

…And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Faith and trust in the Cosmic Christ liken us to the munchkin with the refreshing smile. Putin and his “Deadly Brinkmanship” disintegrate within the big picture of salvation—another figurehead wearing slick aviator shoes; some with pumps so as to appear taller.

“I thirst,” said the Russian tank officer, leaning against the turret, blood oozing from his shoulder onto his jacket.

“I thirst,” said the Ukrainian soldier tightening a tourniquet above his ankle seeping blood, his mouth twisted in anguish.

“I thirst,” said the scarved grandmother holding her toddler’s hand, watchful of potholes lest she fall.

“I thirst,” said the battle-terrified youth seeking a means to desert within the mayhem of the next explosion.

“I thirst,” said the field reporter, dismayed by her empty thermos bottle and too far from the station to replenish it.

“I thirst,” said the teenager sheltering a puppy in his hooded coat as he shivered in the cold, his village just strafed by mortar shells.

Many also thirst far beyond the war zone: those tending the  supply lines, those strategizing the next strike, those searching casualty lists, those suturing new wounds, those listening for glimmers of hope, those praying from arroyo-like depths.

And there was Another who cried, “I thirst!” who shares our thirst.

Grace is like ebony wetness seeping into the chinks of my terminal illness: This, too, must be transformed—and so it is, instant by instant.

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