Headlines from the New York Times for Monday, March 27, 2017
Aleksei Navalny, Top Putin Critic, Arrested as Protests Flare in Russia – The Russian police arrested hundreds of people in nationwide anti-corruption protests on Sunday, including the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in Moscow, where thousands gathered for the biggest demonstration in five years against President Vladimir V. Putin.
The protest in the capital took the form of a synchronized walk along a major shopping street to avoid a ban on unsanctioned stationary gatherings. It was one of 99 similar rallies in cities and towns across the country — from Vladivostok in the far east to Kaliningrad in the west — according to the organizer, Mr. Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation.
In a statement on Sunday that reflected widespread wariness of the Russian leader in Washington, Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, said: “Putin’s thugocracy is on full display. The United States government cannot be silent about Russia’s crackdown on peaceful protesters. Free speech is what we’re all about and Americans expect our leaders to call out thugs who trample the basic human rights of speech, press, assembly and protest.”
Shortly after the senator’s statement, Mark Toner, the acting spokesman for the State Department in Washington, said the United States “strongly condemns the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters throughout Russia on Sunday” and called for their immediate release. “Detaining peaceful protesters, human rights observers, and journalists is an affront to core democratic values,” he added.
Readings from Isaiah 32.15-18 for Monday, March 27, 2017
Isaiah would have been at home in an AA meeting. He knew the truth of “hitting bottom” and that of the need for a spiritual experience. The preceding verses in Isaiah 32 speak of the “bottom” the nations hit, when they turned away from God and his direction for life.
Once people “hit bottom,” they are humble enough to surrender. When we surrender to the leadership of God, he is free to pour our his Spirit on us. The following verses tell us what we can look for when we surrender to God and live according to his direction for life.
Isaiah 32.15-18 – Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fertile field, And the fertile field is considered as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness And righteousness will abide in the fertile field. And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places . . .
Prayers for Monday, March 27, 2017
Dear God, you have revealed that like water and sunshine love is wholly non-resistant, self-giving, and self-adjusting. No resistance or opposition can keep it from being true to its nature and doing its best without expecting any return. Please grant us your Spirit, so we can give love and only love.