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This Black Spring is God’s invitation to us to gather stones

Yesterday, coming back from the village of Zhigalova where I had served the liturgy on Thomas Sunday, I received a phone call from a friend of mine who works for the Irkutsk edition of the well-known newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. She asked me for my comments regarding the ‘Black Spring’ and what it could mean, what with terrorist attacks, earthquakes and plane crashes. I asked for 20 minutes so I could pray and think it over before answering her. Surely enough, she did call me back exactly 20 minutes later. The following is what came to me and what I told her:

It is Jubilee Time…

In the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, it says there is a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones (Ecclesiastes 3, 5). These words fit into what the Law of Moses lays down regarding Jubilees. Jubilees are applicable to our lives; they are spans of 50 years, where the fiftieth year is in fact a Jubilee Year. this is a year of decision. During this year God says the following to us: Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God. Wherefore, ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgements, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. Leviticus 25, 17-19

‘A time to throw stones’ (the first 25 years)… these are years of experience. During these years, a person often makes mistakes and decisions, sometimes, foolish decisions. ‘And a time to gather stones’ is the latter 25 years of this span our lives, these are years that are often given as a chance to understand our mistakes and correct them by asking forgiveness for our transgressions and forgiving those who have transgressed against us…by letting everyone and everything go with an easy heart for Christ’s sake.

This ‘Jubilee period’ began with perestroika. It set all the peoples of the former USSR and Eastern Europe free of the pagan Communist yoke. In the spring of 1985, a new era began, an era of new freedom, an era of material wealth. The countries of the former Warsaw Pact never had it as free and easy as they did during these years after perestroika. Meanwhile, 25 years have passed.

Today, having abused their freedom, these countries are deteriorating, sinking into one destructive decision after another and we can see the steps they have taken as a consequence. Now, after 25 years, the countries of Eastern Europe, as well as Russia, are actually standing at the turning point of the Jubilee Time. We are halfway through the period. Now, that we are half way through, God, as often happens in the history of mankind, is warning us through loud, apocalyptic trumpets, that is, terrorist attacks, earthquakes and plane crashes, to name but a few. He is warning us, directing our attention to the fact that we are entering the latter half of the “Jubilee Times”, times where we are to ‘gather stones’ (Ecclesiastes 3, 5).

We are entering times were we should turn away from mutual accusations and work together ‘to gather stones’. It is a time when we are not to oppress one another, but to fear God. That is, if we wish to put a stop to the advance of evil. Today is a time to look around us with the understanding that what ‘has worked’ for the last 25 years is not going to work any more. Now is a time ‘to gather stones’.

This is the meaning of our ‘Black Spring’ of 2010. We have to reconsider our next 25 years with great care, as they are going to lead us to the ‘Jubilee Year’. Then, God will re-evaluate whether we are to stay within the historic earthly boundaries of our countries and/or whether we are to be in our earthly boundaries at all or not.

This spring of 2010 was dark, not only for Russians, but, as we can clearly see today, for every nation that has ever had connections with our country as well as for countries that are far away from us. We call all the politicians of the world to rejoice and ‘see that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time’ (Ephesians 5, 15-16) as God asks of you and of all of us regarding our actions.

‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus’ (Revelation 22, 20).

An ordinary Russian priest
19 April 2010

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