Well…out of the city of Moscow, a couple flights, a train ride and a bus ride has placed me in the middle of a scene from Heidi. Amy and I are staring wide eyed at the Swiss Alps from a little village called Adelboden…surreal comes to mind…beauty saturates my eyes.
It is almost such a dichotomist reality I have lived the last week, my mind wonders if it is true. Moscow…wow, where to begin, while it has changed dramatically over the last 15 years as the nation has moved into a post Soviet reality…many things have not changed.
I am a watcher of people, and riding around under the city with millions of other riders gave me ample opportunities to watch people…up close…very close. Man, the trains were just packed as they rocked along, station after station.
I watched, and looked, and prayed, and wondered, and prayed some more. The eyes are a window to the soul, as they say…I believe the eyes are the pathway to the heart…you see in a persons eyes the state of their heart very clearly…most of the eyes I looked into were very dim, hazy, and downcast…they seemed to match the gray which enshrouds the city.
Imagine a nation and a people rich with life, history, and faith…and then a revolution which eliminates all of that, and all of the things that make you, well, you. Then imagine another change where those things are allowed again…you might wonder what truth is, what is real, when will the next change happen…will this change last…how do I live in the present in light of the past…is it really okay for me to step out an be noticed in a land where that was previously frowned upon, and prohibited, and could give you an all expense paid pass to Siberia…
I thought about such a rich history as Amy and I walked through and meditated upon the beauty I found in the churches inside the Kremlin. There are seven beautiful churches inside the Kremlin, one housed the remains of the Tzar’s and the royals, others houses ancient works of art that made your jaw drop.
I pondered how could all the politicians who worked in the government buildings inside the Kremlin for so many years, walk by these churches that silently spoke of the God that the nation once had central to their way of life…Day after day, walking around a spiritual symbol while trying to eliminate religion from the heart and conscious of a nation…I really can’t fathom that.
Perhaps that is they way we apprehend God in the church though…He becomes so familiar that the beauty that stands before becomes nothing more than wood, paint, and windows to another world. So much beauty…so much Godly tradition…
One of the crypts I was looking at entombed an early prince who had came to Moscow to claim his throne, the year was about 1246ish…As the nation was a meld of Asiatic tribes and Slavic area tribes there were some rituals the Asiatic rulers asked the prince to perform some rituals that went against his Christian beliefs so he refused and was murdered for his Christian faith.
Amazing that early on, the rulers were willing to die for Christianity, and later they would outlaw the same. After we left the Kremlin we were able to meet the president of the ECMU (Evangelical Christian and Missionary Union) and his team in Mosc ow. They have a plan to launch 12 church plants that become 144 church plants at key locations in the city. They have a great vision, but are not yet sure how they will get there, and that is where our missionaries are coming alongside to help equip, train, and mentor.
As Amy and I entered the church building to meet this team, we were met (for the first time) with smiles of hope…that spoke volumes to me. There is only one thing that can transform that which is hopeless and downcast into brightness that radiates out of the eyes, and that is a person, Jesus Christ. What can change Moscow? A sharp team with a ready plan? or a mountain of missionaries? No…only Jesus alive inside the heart of believers across the city will change the hearts that desperately need Him, but that is the passion that I see in the faces of these men with a heart for Moscow…okay enough for this entry for tonight , I’ll try to find a live wi-fi corner tomorrow!