Leaning on the Good News that Christ is With Us Even in the Bad Times

March 16, 2022

A WIG Narrative with Rev. Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez
On Sunday, Feb. 27, Rev. Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez, associate pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship, was slated to deliver the Transfiguration Sunday sermon to those gathered at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. As she strode to the pulpit, she was wondering if she was really the person people wanted to hear from that day, for Zhenya is Russian and her home country had begun its military actions in and against Ukraine just three days before.
“When my country is in the news, it is not good and I’m used to that, but even I was not prepared for what was being reported,” quipped Zhenya as she began her message. “As I was following what was going on in Ukraine, I was trying to figure out what was happening…trying to wrap my head around just what is going on. At some point, I texted Tim [Bruster] and Lance [Marshall, co-senior pastors of FUMC Fort Worth] and asked ‘Do you guys still want me to preach, do you really want a Russian with a microphone on Sunday?’”
Fortunately, they confidently affirmed the decision for Dr. Gurina-Rodriguez to preach, because she went on to deliver a powerfully poignant message that has become one of First Fort Worth’s most watched video replays. You can view her sermon – “Seeing the Glory” – on the First UMC Fort Worth YouTube channel.
Born in what was then the USSR, Dr. Gurina-Rodriguez spent some of her younger, formative years living in Ukraine. As such, she offers a most unique perspective on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and other times of trouble and conflict in our lives, our homes, our churches and our relationships.
In the video below, Zhenya touches on what it is like for her personally to watch the ongoing struggles brought about by Russia military actions in and against Ukraine. She also offers insights as to what it is like being a pastor and helping others understand the conflict and how they can best respond; how the power of prayer has helped sustain her and others during this time. And she is sure to remind that God, in the person of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit knows our pain and struggles and is always with us, even during the bad and tough times in our lives and world.