in Theology

The Wise Men by G.K. Chesterton

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The Wise Men
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore
On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know all labyrinthine lore,
We are the three wise men of yore,
And we know all things but the truth.

We have gone round and round the hill
And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,
And served the mad gods, naming still
The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil
Of vision and philosophy,
The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly…it has hailed and snowed…
With voices low and lanterns lit;
So very simple is the road,
That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,
And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun
(…We need but walk a little way,
We need but see a latch undone…)
The Child that played with moon and sun
Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,
The old strange house that is our own,
Where trick of words are never said,
And Mercy is as plain as bread,
And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly, humble are the skies,
And low and large and fierce the Star;
So very near the Manger lies
That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
To roar to the resounding plain.
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,
For God Himself is born again,
And we are little children walking
Through the snow and rain.

Christmas greetings from SELC

Peace to you dear Brothers and Sisters,

May we bring to your attention the words of greetings from the Christmas Address of our Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin that was read in the parishes of Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church during the Christmas liturgy.

Brothers and sisters,

Distances nowadays mean not so much, it is not difficult to get into a car and drive a couple of hundred kilometers. Although it also happens that it is difficult to travel a few bus stops on Sunday morning, anyway at Christmas, we always come.

But for Saint Mary to walk one hundred and fifty kilometers to Bethlehem was a lot. Can we travel before the birth of a babe through dangerous and unsanitary conditions, to change a cozy parental home to a cattle-shed, and a cradle to a wash-tub?

Such a trip Saint Mary has done for us. But her Son has done a much bigger travel.

The Son of God came down from heaven to earth, incarnated, was born, became in every way just as we are–yet He did not sin [from Phil. 2:7 and Heb. 4:15]. He took our sins, and on the cross He became the sacrifice for us. The sacrifice, partaking of which during the Eucharist, we Christians obtain the forgiveness of sin and the salvation.

So please come. Church is not too far from you. The Lord is waiting for you here every Sunday.

My beloved parishioners, I congratulate you and wish you happy Christmas and good and churchly New Year!

We wish you all God’s blessings during this holy time of Christmas!

“Faith and Hope”
Please see attached photos from the Christmas service in the parish of St. Andrew in Novosibirsk.

SELC Newsletter #243

Peace to you dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Now we have gone through the middle of Advent. Someone once said that “the Church turns our life into a permanent feast.” So yesterday we lighted a special candle that is brighter than other three ones — pink, not purple, to remind us that most of the fast days have already been passed, that Christmas is soon.

Our Bishop said in his sermon on Matthew 11:1-10:

Saint John the Baptist had a right to ask this question: “Are You the one Who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” [Matt. 11:3]

After all, if (now imagine for a moment this “if”!) it was an error, John the Baptist’s whole life was in vain. In vain he spent his early years in the desert, in vain he preached under the scorching sun, in vain he is now in the prison, in vain he will die, all is in vain.

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We also can doubt. “Are You the one Who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” — this is our common human question, our almost daily prayer to God.

Are You the one when I feel so bad?

Are You the one when this world hurts me?

Are You the one when my beloved ones are dying?

Are You the one when those mired in poverty who deserve happiness?

Are You the one, or maybe we just made a mistake in our faith? Maybe we are just wasting our time for all these prayers?

However you should know… Although some fanatics say that a doubt is a sin, we are in good company, headed by Saint John the Baptist.

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So, are you doubting, John? Doubt is not a sin. Doubt turns into a sin only when it turns into temptation. When people refuse to believe that the Son of God came into the world, but they create their own “gods” according to their views.

When does doubt turn into temptation? When we prefer our response instead the God’s word. When we think we know better than God how shall we live.

When does doubt turn into temptation? When we stop going to church. (As many people think: why to go there? I can spend my time more usefully, trying to make money, or to relax after a hard work. Aren’t millions of people thinking is such way, giving up, letting to doubts to win over them?).

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And so, although Christ performed His wonderful miracles, but the main miracle is different. The main miracle is that God incarnated and was born of the Virgin Mary, and became one of us to dwell with us. The main miracle is that the Kingdom of God has become part of this world, and this Kingdom is touchable and tangible as tangible is the piece of unleavened bread and a taste of wine, that become the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar.

The main miracle is that in this world where there is the Church — as a hospital for sinners, as a shelter for those who doubt, as an island of calm in the midst of ocean of evil and cruelty.

We will not understand this, if the most important thing in our life is our health and satiety. We will understand this, if we recognize that we are to live forever, and the most important thing for us is forgiveness of sins and salvation.

Blessed is he who takes no offense at Me. [Matt. 11:6]

So, blessed are you, John the Baptist, because you “had prepared the way for the Lord,” pointing at Him in the presence of a great multitude of people.

Blessed are your disciples, because, as you took no offence on God, so they also took no offence, but came to Christ.

Blessed are those who stay in faith, in spite of the circumstances.

Blessed are all who aspire to the main miracle which is constantly perpetrated by God on earth that the Eucharist is.

Blessed we are, brothers and sisters, because we come to the church, to obtain here new strengths for our Christian life, in order to move through all the fears and trials, and to persevere and to endure, and to meet the coming Christ one Day, and, together with John the Baptist and with all the saints to say to Him: “You are the one Who is to come, we did not wait for another.”

Please pray for our Bishop Vsevolod and for all clergymen and laymen in Siberia.

We wish you a blessed time of Advent!

“Faith and hope”
Please see attached photos.