Guest Author For This Post: Maria Rachinskaya from Russia
“However when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
As for me it’s probably one of the most stunning questions that Jesus has ever asked. The Lord, the Creator came to His people and became one of them, some of the most devoted ones were with Him during three years listening every His word and learning from Him… and after that He wondered if people believe in Him, if there is the faith on the earth.
Let’s imagine… what if He decided to just come again to us to find the faith among people as He went down to Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:21). What would He find?
I thought about my country, people around me, my church and me. How would we receive Him? Unfortunately, I started to realize that an idea of near God involved to the lives of His beloved people is hard to be understood in Russia. For a long time Russian thinking has been affected by Orthodoxy.
As the world goes a huge part of Russian people consider themselves being orthodox while prevailing part of them confine themselves to knowing some religious ceremonies and celebrating Christian feasts according to worldly traditions.
No doubts there are a lot of sincerely believers among the orthodox people but I would like to give some thoughts about the influence on those who don’t want to come closer to God. What do people learn from Orthodoxy? There are great amount of the Saints who are believed to be intermediary between people and God. It may seem that God is too busy for taking care about His sons and daughters and too independent, emotionally distant from His people.
In Russian people‘s mind God is he to whom you would go only in the exceptional case. Many rites need to be followed if you have troubles. It probably doesn’t concern people’s hearts, there is no need to cooperate with Him: do what you are said and wait for the improvements in your life. This leads those who sincerely come to the Lord are far from identification themselves as “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).
God seems to do not deal with the ordinary people as you and me, only the priests can dare to come nearer to Him. There is another side of such understanding. Once you want to be closer to God you decided to deserve His attention, try to earn His grace. It’s still difficult to me as well to refuse an idea of earning His love by self-righteousness.
Being a protestant I can sometimes observe the following idea in believers around me and in me as well: no matter how hard you try, you can do your best… however you will still feel ashamed before the Lord, you won’t feel forgiven and beloved by God because you don’t really realize that God desires relationships with you to death, He is not passive and in Christ He became near.
At the moment I would like to reflect on this: why after Christ’s death and resurrection, after Him being one of us, as close to us as He can be, after all that He did, He is still so distant? May be there is really no faith in our hearts? For a lot of Russian people God is either too busy or too angry at people. In both cases He is practically inaccessible.
If He decided to become person again, if we saw Him in the flesh would we realize that He is near? that He doesn’t need our services? that He loves us with all His heart? would we answer His Love with all our passion, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength (Mark 12:30)?
When the Son of Man comes to my country, to my church, to my family, to me… what will He find?