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Churchill once described Stalin as, “A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. That may be true, and an apt description of the man from Georgia, but what a painful bundle. Intriguing and insensitive. Charming and cruel. Virtuous and vicious. The ways of Stalin were the weave of a very complex web, and few could safely trip through their overlapping threads.
How different that One who might be described as the “Word wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger”; or as the “Sacred Head surrounded by thorns and shamed upon a Cross”; or as the “Suffering Servant wrapped in funeral cloths and lying in a tomb”; or as the “Conqueror wrapped in life and standing in His power”. All such phrases would be true and apt to describe the Man from Galilee, who was bundle of life and hope, and a source of healing and grace.
I wonder what the young Stalin missed when he studied in seminary. It is reported that sang beautifully in the choir, and read fluently the script for the service, and won awards for good behaviour and knowledge of religion. Ah… perhaps that’s it. Awards for religion but not for relationship. Prizes for facts and figures about Jesus, but not for personal devotion to Jesus. What an easy mistake to make. To see the form but not the substance. Incense and music and religious movement, but not the Lamb who came into our world and gave for us His life.
DM 14th April 2022