This is the script of this morning’s Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

President Zelenskiy’s address to Parliament yesterday was another step in maintaining solidarity with Ukraine.

I simply can’t imagine what it will be like to live in Ukraine right now – waiting for the military onslaught that threatens to accompany the first anniversary of the Russian invasion. I can’t imagine such fear of the imminent unknown, having no control over what is to come.

As Anna Reid illustrates in her excellent book Borderlands, Ukrainians live on an edge, a border between Europe and Asia.

But, living on an edge – the word for it is ‘liminality’ – changes perspective as well as behaviour. I have good friends who live in Basel which borders Germany, France and Switzerland. Wherever you go there you have to pay attention to a different language, variations of culture and history, architecture and mood. You drive down a road and find you’ve been in two or three countries. And this means navigating strangeness, respecting difference.

Now, nothing should ever trivialise the predicament in which Ukraine currently find itself. Although for many of us, borders do not represent a threat, simply dividing, but also open us up to new people and experiences, this is not the case with Ukraine: their border is characterised by extreme violence, fear and blood.

Yet, there is a parallel in the ways people think and relate in any context. Living on an edge compels us to face difference and respect narratives that are not mine. Having been a professional linguist many years ago, I understand what it is like to look, think and listen through the lens of a different culture – a people whose story is different from mine.

But, the bigger influence on me is the Judeo-Christian tradition which tracks the formative story of people for whom home is always contested, estranged or constantly moving. In fact, the earliest credal statement in the Hebrew Scriptures begins with a striking statement: “My father was a wandering Aramaean…” Exile is one of the major biblical themes – and this is a reality we are now seeing every day as millions of Ukrainians flee. In the biblical story people are exiled without their consent, often at the sharp end of an empire’s weaponry. Jesus himself constantly crossed borders to be where people actually stood – never seducing anyone with false promises, but being realistic about the brutality of the world. He, too, paid with his life. For him the injunction to “love my neighbour as myself” was never some romantic idea – it is costly, especially for those who live on a sharp edge.

I look at Ukraine from a place of security; but, I can also look through the lens of their experience to better understand my own, too.