Rushville Republican

Church

October 4, 2013

Keeping the Faith: Layer upon layer

Years ago my sister traveled to the Ukraine on a mission trip. She worked among the indigenous Christians on a number of worthy projects, and when her time ran up, she returned home with a heart full of joy, a head full of memories, and bags full of strange and wonderful souvenirs.

Since I’m the only twin brother my sister has, she brought me a unique gift: A set of Matryoshka Dolls; traditional Russian nesting dolls. When you open the first doll it has a smaller doll on the inside, so on and so forth, until you reach a tiny Weeble Wobble deep within.

My sister traveled well after Russian Perestroika, Polish Solidarity, and the other movements that unhinged communism in Eastern Europe. The outer doll of my Matryoshka set was, entertainingly, Boris Yeltsin. His likeness had a dopey little smile and rumpled hair as if he had been drinking too much vodka, accurately portrayed I fear.

When Yeltsin was opened, there was Gorbachev with the familiar birthmark on his forehead. Inside Gorbachev was Khrushchev, then Josef Stalin, and finally Vladimir Lenin himself. I now keep all these little Communists boxed in the attic. They are much too dangerous to be let loose in the world again.

The deeper you went within the dolls, the closer you got to the essence of Soviet power, its source and beginning. As layer after layer fell away, and finally you held a tiny characterization of Lenin in your hand, you could truthfully say, “Ah, now I’ve gotten to the bottom of it all. This is the seed, the kernel from which all the others grew.”

I, and many others, have tried this same thing with Jesus. We have struggled to unravel him, to break open his shell, and then the next, and the next, and the next. Then, we think we can get to the bottom of who he is and his story. We reconstruct his historical setting. We dissect his words. We set out to determine who he “really was” and is. But there is a problem. When dealing with this Jesus, we do not find ourselves moving to something smaller and more manageable.

Text Only
Church
  • Church Briefs Main Street Christian Church Main Street Christian Church celebrates the new life that Easter brings at both its 8:30 a.m. casual series and the 10:30 a.m. blended service. The message is "The Road Ends with Redemption." At the 10:30 a.m. service, th

    April 18, 2014

  • An empty tomb is not an empty promise "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault" aired almost three decades ago this week, and at the time, it was the most watched syndicated television show in the history of the medium. The charismatic host of the show that evening kept viewers on the edge of t

    April 18, 2014

  • A pedicure that cured all my pet peeves Since I was a young person, I always had some pets around. Most of these have been dogs, hunting dogs in particular. And I loved my pets. In getting older, I discovered that having a pet dog around is a lot of work. More work than I care to do in lig

    April 18, 2014

  • chu-rv041814-church mouse pic The meaning of Easter from Angel the Church Mouse Hi, all you kind folks in Readership Land, This time of the year, many thoughts are on Easter and its meaning. May the following stories help. Children hunt and then eat their found treasures of plastic colored eggs filled with jelly beans and candy

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church briefs Big Flatrock Christian Church Big Flatrock Christian Church invites everyone to the Easter services. Maundy Thursday service will be at 6 p.m. April 17 with a dinner following. Easter Sunrise Service will be at 7 a.m. April 20 with a pitch-in breakfa

    April 11, 2014

  • Why I am happy to pay my taxes and other mendacities Last week I was getting along just fine. Things were being accomplished and I was rather enjoying myself. Dutifully, I was checking off item after item on my "to-do-list." I love it when a plan comes together. However, at the top of my exuberance, th

    April 11, 2014

  • Keeping the Faith: Palm Sunday sufferings Palm Sunday, celebrated this weekend by the world's Christians, is customarily a day of joy. Directed toward the event known as "The Triumphal Entry," Palm Sunday marks the day that Jesus came riding into Jerusalem, just days before his death, welcom

    April 11, 2014

  • Church briefs Main Street Christian Church Main Street Christian Church continues their Lenten and Pre-Easter sermon series, The Road Through the Cross with this Sunday's message, "The Road Always Goes Through Failure" as we examines the disciple Peter's denial of

    April 4, 2014

  • Francis recalls John Paul II's death 9 years ago VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis on Wednesday hailed Pope John Paul II's legacy as he marked the ninth anniversary of the Polish-born pontiff's death. A crowd of tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims, including some from Poland, applauded when F

    April 4, 2014

  • Where have all the men in white hats gone? When I was growing up you could always tell who the good men were by the white hats they wore. Bad men always wore black hats. That made it rather convenient for those of us who were watching so we knew who would be winning at the end. When you were

    April 4, 2014