I’m safely in Moscow! The last leg of the trip is tomorrow, to Stavropol. I spent 12 hours on planes, and then was given a short tour of the city by an American worker who’s lived in Moscow for many years. Saw Red Square, the Kremlin, and St. Basil’s Cathedral – that one, in particular, gave me some real insight into Eastern Christianity.
It’s interesting how everything in that church, whether it’s the impossibly high ceilings or the elaborate iconography, is designed to emphasize the transcendence and “other-ness” of God. You feel really small when you look up in there! But at the same time, my American brother tells me that all services are held in old Slavonic Russian, which is apparently even harder to understand than King James English. So, while the Orthodox stress and value God’s transcendence and majesty in worship, they do so by neglecting his immanence (God’s presence and activity in human lives). Nothing could be more at odds with a recognition of God’s immanence than doing a service that the people cannot understand, for the Word will not soften and save when the language is inaccessible.
But a fascinating city and spectacular architecture. I leave for Stavropol tomorrow, so please continue to pray for traveling mercies!