Friday, October 26, 2007

Processing The Purple Martyrdom 2

I’m in the middle of chapter 33 of Irina Ratushinskaya’s amazing book, Grey is the Color of Hope.

And, no, I don’t want to talk about what hasn’t been getting done around here while I’m reading….

I do, however, want to tell you that this story is the most amazing example of cHesed-based communitas I have ever heard...and I've heard a lot of them.

The Back to Jerusalem band’s story shows extreme love of God in the face of incredible persecution--laying down one's life for one's Lord; Irina’s book shows the power of the love that lays down one's life for one's friends …WOW!

I don’t have time to process more right now, but I wanted to share these two quotes:

From p. 225—“Strange things happen when you have nothing to depend on except God’s help.”

And from p. 238—“…the best way to retain one’s humanity in the camps: to care more about another’s pain than your own.”

That I have been able to read this book this quickly is a testament to its powerful story…this book is going on my recommended reading list for everyone who wants to understand the power of cHesed, the centrality of the concept of covenant to discipleship, and the amazing and rare gift that is this level of communitas.

Wow....Irina and the other women of the Small Zone, and their families, were a bigger part of what brought down the iron curtain than most realize.


sonja said...

Oh, Peggy, I have found a friend ... someone who talks about cHesed and peregrinatio and understands them!!

The name of our band of friends? Hesed Straggling ... I've never seen it written the way you write it, but that seems more right to me.

Ed Brenegar said...

Peggy, Irina's story of surviving the camps by caring for others more is quite similar to James Stockdale's story of being a POW during Vietnam. As the top ranked officer in the whole system, he created an ethic of operating that placed the good of all the prisoners ahead one's own welfare. They stuck together. They did things together, like food strikes, and that sense of togetherness save the lives of most of the men who were there. There is something about living in desperate situations that clarifies what truly is important. I do like this purple martyrdom idea.

Brad said...

wouldn't it be cool if at the next missional order gathering, they brought in Irina and Igor?! last time i checked, i think they'd moved from Canada back to Russia or the Ukraine.

AbiSomeone said...

Oh, have found a friend, indeed! MO Blogger Len posted about covenant here:
(I posted a lengthy comment...) and is supposed to be writing on hesed (as he spells it) soon. I include the small "c" because it is the clue for the gutteral pronunciation... either way works, since so few people know or use the word these days! Welcome ;^)

Ed, I can imagine that the stories are similar. When I was very young, I was privileged to work for Corrie ten Boom and intimately learn her her letters from prison...I am generally unable to read or watch stories about the Nazis as a result.

I have not read many Vietnam POW stories... I have so many grim memories of that war... but I am not surprised to hear it. God's image cannot be destroyed even in the darkest of places. As Corrie liked to say: "No pit is so deep that God's love is not deeper still."

Brad, I would treasure the chance to meet them. The Wikipedia article on Irina was a very interesting update, since I just finished the book this morning.

Another post is in the works...