Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus

Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was, in his days, one of the mightiest people on earth. As his name indicates, he was a Russian. He had been part of the Russian revolution of 1917, later became the editor of the most important Russian newspaper, the Pravda (which, by the way, means “the truth”) and was also a full member of the Russian politburo. He had authored books on economy and politics, many of which are still read today.
In 1930 he had to travel from Moscow to Kiev (in modern Ukraine) where he had to address an important meeting on the theme: Atheism. It is said that he spoke for an hour, during which time he broke down the Christian faith, insulted Christians and gave more than enough proof why God could not exist.
When he was through with his lecture, he looked at the people, convinced that nothing had remained of their faith. Then an old man stood up in the audience and slowly made his way forward. He looked at the audience from left to right. And then he greeted the audience in the traditional words used within the Russian Orthodox church: Xristos vaskrees! (Chris is risen!) The next moment the entire audience rose to their feet and like a clap of thunder the words of the audience echoed throughout the hall: Vayeestina vaskrees! (He has truly risen!)
As Christians, Easter Sunday is the most important day on our calendar. Through the resurrection of Christ, sin has been conquered, death has been conquered, Satan has been conquered. In our Western world Easter seems to have been eclipsed by Christmas. Obviously, it is impossible to say that one is more important than the other, because Easter could not have happened without Christmas. But for me – and this is something which I learnt in Swaziland – Easter is the most important day on the Christian calendar. And in Eastern Europe, Easter is also the most important day on their calendar.
I was told two years ago when I was in Russia, that on Easter Sunday, during the Communist times, even hardened Communists greeted each other with the words: Xristos vaskrees! to which the other person responded by saying: Vayeestina vaskrees!
Perhaps we need to bring back this tradition in our churches today.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008 - Posted by | Celebration, Church, Cross-cultural experiences, Hope, Mission, Russia, Swaziland, Theology

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