Thursday, May 6, 2010

Third World

There was a time when we would have been shocked to kingdom come to see that Slavic New Beginnings roadside sign.

"The church for you and your children" it says in Russian. Oh, and they meet on Sunday at 12:00 noon.

Russia was the enemy. Well, not exactly. The Soviet Union was the enemy. Some of the people there spoke Russian. That was the language of trade, government and the military. But in that huge union of "republics", there were many peoples besides Russians and many other languages.

That's why the current Russian Federation is much smaller geographically than the former Soviet Union. After the fall of communism, many of the old republics left to form their own political entities. How much of a nation really is Kyrghyzstan? Uzbekistan? Tadjikistan?

There are lots of familiar place names on the map when I look at that part of the world today in my little atlas of the former USSR. All the place names are in Cyrillic. Just like the Russian on that church sign. The past is now here.

There's some kind of new church in the former location of Dial Travel. I used to have Al and Diane Vavra book all of my air travel there. That was before I had a computer and Internet service at home and had to do it myself.

They booked flights for us from our duaghter Hilary's infancy through her college graduation. I kept up with their family also: kids getting married and having grandkids. In bunches. There was this set of quadruplets all named for baseball parks: Brooklyn, Fenway, etc. You get the idea.

Now it's New Zion Ministries. I guess you'd never call a storefront church "Old Zion Ministries", now would you?

We used to think of the church as bricks and mortar. Jesus always knew it was the people and their bonds of faith and love in the world.

May the Holy Spirit of God bless all these new avenues of good news. The world is smaller every day. It has now arrived here. May we welcome God's people everywhere.

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