Thursday, May 6, 2021

Midweek Message


While reflecting on Christ's words in the Gospel for this coming Sunday, "Abide in my love," (Jn 15:9) I was struck by this:

In 1944, the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko's mother took him from Siberia to Moscow. They were among those who witnessed a procession of twenty-thousand German war prisoners marching through the streets of Moscow:

The pavements swarmed with onlookers, cordoned off by soldiers and police. The crowd was mostly women -- Russian women with hands roughened by hard work, lips untouched by lipstick, and with thin hunched shoulders which had borne half of the burden of the war. Every one of them must have had a father or a husband, a brother or a son killed by the Germans. They gazed with hatred in the direction from which the column was to appear.

At last we saw it. The generals marched at the head, massive chins stuck out, lips folded disdainfully, their whole demeanor meant to show superiority over their plebian victors.

"'They smell of perfume, the bastards," someone in the crowd said with hatred. The women were clenching their fists. The soldiers and policemen had all they could do to hold them back.

All at once something happened to them. They saw German soldiers, thin, unshaven, wearing dirty blood-stained bandages, hobbling on crutches or leaning on the shoulders of their comrades; the soldiers walked with their heads down. The street became dead silent -- the only sound was the shuffling of boots and the thumping of crutches.

Then I saw an elderly women in broken-down boots push herself forward and touch a policeman's shoulder, saying, "Let me through." There must have been something about her that made him step aside. She went up to the column, took from inside her coat something wrapped in a colored handkerchief and unfolded it. It was a crust of black bread. She pushed it awkwardly into the pocket of a soldier, so exhausted that he was tottering on his feet. And now from every side women were running toward the soldiers, pushing into their hands bread, cigarettes, whatever they had. The soldiers were no longer enemies. They were people. (A Precocious Autobiography, Yevgeny Yevtushenko)


Abide in my love says Christ. What freedom, peace and joy there is to be had in that, as opposed to the tyranny, conflict and misery of its opposite. 

Let's choose wisely between these to paths and pray without ceasing that God's invincible love, his life, fills our hearts. Do not think for an instant that such a prayer won't be answered.

Here endeth the lesson,



Kid said...

The vast majority of soldiers are people. Such a naive view of mine but if people refused to fight the people of other countries where would we be? We'd be without war. Barbaric war anyway. Let the politicians go and fight.

Have soldiers that will only defend. Make the attackers pay with the entire loss of their country starting with the politicians.

But we don't live on that planet.

LSP said...

Kid, I sympathize with that view. And I've got a kid in the game. So.

drjim said...

Thank you for the sermon, Parson. The passage from the Russian poet put it into perspective for me.

And it even gave me a new outlook on "The Dude Abides".....

Wild, wild west said...

Kid, I've often thought that if at any time Congress votes to approve military action, the whole of that body should be immediately formed into an infantry rifle battalion with orificers appointed based on leadership position and seniority, and that they should be made to be the first unit to hit the beach or cross the line, etc. No waivers for conscientious objection, age or physical limitations. Congressional cannon fodder, may the best congress-critter win.

Many drawbacks to that system, but if it's that important, those fortunate sons/daughters should have very real skin in the game.

LSP said...

drjim, same here!

LSP said...

WWW, +1