The 9th of May is a big deal in Russia. It marks the celebration of Russia's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
Having just witnessed our first Victory Day celebration here in St Petersburg, I've really started to understand a lot more about what it means to be Russian. No other non Religious holiday is celebrated in quite the same way in Russia, and in terms of a sheer show of strength, no other day compares.
It seems that for all Russians they share in the lose and hardship of all that went on, especially between 1941 and 1945. And understandably so. In St Petersburg, as we came to understand back at the beginning of this year with the 65th Anniversary of the ending of the blockade around the city that saw over one million people starve to death, there can't be any natives here who haven't at first hand come in contact with this suffering, as their parents and grand-parents would have been around then. It's a hard scar to bare and something that needs great celebration at the thought of victory.
Here, and more so in Moscow, military muscles were flexed once more in a show to the world that Russia is still, of course, a major military force.
It's been quite wonderful to have witnessed these things first hand and to generally be amongst the Russians at this time.
It has made me think about the whole 'Victory Day' thing though. Yesterday marked the 64th Anniversary of that great victory in 1945, and yet, since then, there have been many wars, much further suffering, both within Russian and all over the world.
Walking around the streets here in this affluent city, it isn't long before you come face to face with the poor and homeless - the hopeless even.
So what of this victory then? Yes, it was one war and one fierce enemy, that has shaped Russian life, culture and literature ever since. But today, no nation in this world we all share, lives in victory. Generally they live in conflict, with rumours of war, famine or disease never far away.
So has there ever been a true 'Victory'?
Yes - wonderfully, what Jesus acheived on that cross some 2009 years, or so, ago was indeed a victory once and for all. He needs to do nothing more to continue to acheive what was won on that day. There is no less freedom today, so many years later, than on that first day after his resurection. So it really was a true victory, once and for all.
I really enjoyed the fact that I could share in the Russian celebrations, and felt honoured to be here and a part of them. But everything in me also is longing that many here could share in Jesus' Victory, a victory over all sin, death and suffering.
If you want to know more about this victory, please feel free to drop me a line. Be blessed!
Welcome! It's wonderful to see you here!
I'm a passionate writer - and therefore spend most of my time writing thriller novels. But I also live an interesting life in the nations. This blog is here for that aspect of my life - our life - I live with my wonderful wife and two daughters.
I believe in encouragement. I live for obedience. I believe in learning from our experiences, and this blog exists for both of those, and more.
So that you stay connected, getting every new update, please add your email address to receive all updates directly, or follow the RSS feed.
I was part of the leadership team in St Petersburg, Russia - which planted Hope Church in 2009.(www.hopechurchstpetersburg.com).
In March 2012 Hope Church sent my family to plant into Tallinn, the Capital of Estonia. I therefore lead this small but growing church plant team. Here is the website for Hope Tallinn (www.hopetallinn.ee)
For details on our journey here, read the series called Adventures of Faith which is linked for you on the right hand column, just below. That details our original journey to Russia and then onto Tallinn 4 years later.
Author for fiction novels - Cherry Picking (2012), The Last Prophet (2015), The Tablet (2015) and The Shadow Man (2016) are available on all major bookselling sites. Please visit: www.timheathbooks.com
Some want to help in practical ways: