вторник, 20 июля 2010 г.

Introduction: Job: Coming back to the Lost Humanity or Going toward True God

Small sufferings irritate us,
Great ones return us to ourselves.
J. Richter

The slogan of philosophy of existentialism «Find and understand yourself» becomes more and more relevant in the world where the man, being unable to understand himself, as never before feels internal emptiness: we do not know whence we have come, what for we are here and where finally we go to. We live in a century of pluralism noted by a special variety of religious systems and currents: people do not know today in what to trust and to whom to pray. Therefore trust everything and pray to everybody - just in case. Today they trust astrologists and the Chinese calendar, tomorrow - miracle power of icons and of sacred hallows, and the day after tomorrow they will go to a mosque or a Buddhist temple. The modern man simply does not know himself and has a rather vague idea about his true spiritual needs. That is why he also rushes about from "counter" to "counter" in «the market of religious offers» and does not find an adequate object of worship. Even atheists have definitively got confused today, some of them became agnostics and declared that they trust in something but precisely do not know in what. In our century people have lost themselves because they have once again lost God.
What can be said about those who call themselves Christians and claim that only they have full knowledge of the Unique True God? Do they know themselves? Have they actually experienced what so loudly declare, or simply deceive themselves and deceive all the world? It is not easy to give an objective answer to this question. However, analyzing my own life and life of those people with which the Lord has allowed me to communicate close enough, I have come to conclusion that we, Christians, do not always understand well enough what happens in our own life. We do not always see ourselves in the true light. And among Christians I met deeply unhappy, got confused in complexities of life and internal problems, people. Many of them are not sure why they go to a church. Some are in the church because they have grown in a believing family. Others were affected by the changes which have occurred in the public outlook: it became fashionable, almost necessary to be religious. The third «were saved by fear», the fourth were brought to the church by the humanitarian aid. But not having started to follow Christ, not having gone through cardinal spiritual changes at the personal level, these unhappy people have doomed themselves to a double life in which external acts do not correspond to internal motives. They have doomed themselves to a life in the world to which they do not belong. They have forced themselves to speak words in which they did not trust, to make actions which they did not understand, and they so have subordinated their thinking to the deceit that they could not distinguish the truth from lie, illusion from reality. And behind all this there is a dead religion in which there is no place for personal meeting of the man with God.
The religion makes us indifferent to God so in the heart of hearts we are hardly excited if He actually is or not, most likely we even are inclined to behave as if He does not exist. The religion searches and worships not that God Who is, but the one which is convenient. The religion preaches the birth of the Messiah, but there and then gives out a place of His birth to the Tyrant, hoping that he will not allow him to survive the next night. The religion sees Jesus miracles, but there and then demands signs to confirm that He is the Messiah. The religion solemnly welcomes Christ today with one only purpose – to crucify Him tomorrow. The religion proclaims Christ's coming but with all heart hopes that it does not happen or at least happens not soon. The religion preaches the Eternal Future, but is deeply roots itself in the earthly present.
The religion deprives our life of a spark of delight, transforming it in a daily routine. The religion says to us that we are for God no more than the mercenaries waiting for the termination of the contract and our task consists in not spending the talent given to us because «our Master is rigid and will search for his own». That is why all that He will give to us we will carefully save up – we will dig it in the earth. Religion is a cemetery for ideas, initiative and development. The religion deceives us convincing that we serve God but we actually do not know God. We are afraid of Him, as slaves are afraid of the whip of their master, from whom they will accept everything without lifting their head. The religion is that monster who deprives us of the Father who is eternally hastening towards his children. But religion also deprives us of the true image of ourselves because not knowing God we can never learn true ourselves.
But the religion thoroughly nourishes ours «daily piety» which is always satisfied, which compels to uplift even the prayers for children "as usually" so neither the form of these prayers, nor their content practically vary. Still the religion gives us our Sunday meetings in which we ask about descending of the Holy Spirit and about that freedom which He gives but in which neither for Spirit, nor for freedom simply there is no place, – all were occupied with religion which has told: God loves order. The ordinary and daily occurrence is that air which religion breathes, by what it exists. That is why any challenge to this kingdom of slumber, any ray of light piercing its darkness causes pain and discontent grimace on the face of the invariably dead and indifferent person of religion.
The religion makes us indifferent to everything, depriving of humanity, we do not empathize any more, we are not interested any more – and at the same time we pretend that in many respects we participate. But what from this "many" possesses true value, what from this "many" descendants will remember? And a more important question: what from this "many" God will "remember"? "Daily occurrence" is that word which is used by Antanas Matseina to describe in what we lose true ourselves, "indifference" is a word which uses Elie Wiesel, and I wish to use it to describe how we lose God.
What is "indifference"? A lack of responsibility or good education? And may be it is "sin"? Elie Wiesel, the winner of the Peace Nobel Prize, asserts that indifference is not so much sin but punishment. People of religion have punished themselves, having eliminated themselves from their own life, they have eliminated what in normal people we call humanity, ability to empathize and feel pity not because the letter of the law demands this but because in it we submit to call of our heart. Indifference makes people "artificial", their persons are eternally covered by "spiritually serious, pious, oppositely sugar masks. Under these masks one cannot find a real face because hypocrisy has already deformed it and perhaps even has destroyed it, so it is impossible to distinguish where the real and where the artificial face.
The religion deprived of alive, open and sincere relations with God, deprives us of possibility not only to know God, but also to have correct idea about ourselves. Not to know your true self is to live without God. The religion blinds us so much that we see neither ourselves nor God. Most strongly in the Scripture it is shown in the book of Job. «Book of Job is a cry to God of a man who cannot manage his life anymore; but this book is also the warning to those who is self-sufficient, who is able to survive in this world without God».
Here we see, how the most just man on the earth Job has been led away from a condition of false, not knowing true mutual relations with God, religiousness. God has not simply led Job from an ordinary, grey, religious condition, God has shaken out it as we shake out a dusty bag, releasing it from unnecessary stuff and dust. Job has not simply lost property, family, health, respect, prestige, religious and political authority, – together with all these Job has lost also himself. That old self which, probably, suited all sons of the East but which did not suit God. «Job's story is that without God and His light we cannot live in this world; for Job to understand it, it was required, that the Lord should pull out him as a tree from his well-being and has surrounded him with gloom: «I was quiet, but He has shaken me»(16:12). Job loses everything all to find, find God and then his true self, – Job's book says to us that we can find true ourselves only in God. And in this sense Job's book points us the connection of history of our life with Job's history. Job is also history of each of us. «Men always saw themselves in this character because during this or that moment of their existence they experience the same: the full impossibility to manage the life and absurdity of any human words in the face of finiteness, old age, illness and death», - wrote Pierre Dumulen. But also it is impossible to disagree with Dumulen that when reading Job's history we see ourselves not only in the protagonist but at some points we see ourselves in each character of this book.
«Meeting with true God, or back to humanity» is a book about salvation of each of us. In it is not present words about that abstract salvation from sins which is often preached in Church and which has no any real things in common with our real life. In this book I wished to show, how God saves us from us, returning to us that true image which He has created. The man has been deformed unrecognizably by the apostasy from God, and the meeting with Him for us is necessary to see those true selves for the sake of which the Christ has died. We need to see that man whose creation was envied by “the fallen angel”. We need to see that man for whom it "was necessary" For God to die.
Job's story helps us to open our essence, his physical sufferings are that spiritual desert of loneliness and misunderstanding which each of us passes on the way to alive and true relations with God. In search of an exit from this spiritual desert it is necessary for each of us to taste the real thirst similar to those which Job has gone through, having refused any attempt to satisfy this thirst by human methods and efforts. Only after we will cease to hope for human power, glory and wisdom, Divine power, glory and wisdom can come to our life.

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