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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: The Cross on the Belltower

By Ken Horn
Nov. 18, 2012

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a “child of the [Bolshevik] revolution” who found Christ while a political prisoner in the Soviet Union, was a Nobel Prize-winning author. In his later life he wrote a prose poem called “The Belltower” about the remarkable belltower of Kalyazin, Russia.

It stood next to the cathedral in the eight-centuries-old trading town, a prosperous city by Russian standards. The Bolsheviks built a dam on the mighty Volga River, creating the lake — Uglich Reservoir — which swallowed most of the city, despite the pleas of frantic residents.

“But what survives of the drowned town,” Solzhenitsyn tells us, “is its tall, graceful belltower.” He marvels that the rampaging communists failed to flatten it, as was their pattern. No, it seemed to be somehow protected. There it continued to stand, tall and straight, “with no sign of a tilt or twist.”

The tower is surmounted by the typical Russian onion dome and spire. “And on the spire — what miracle is this? — the cross survives intact!” That cross continued to dominate the skyline, even during the years of bondage under communism, and could be seen for miles. It can still be seen today. It has outlived the reign of Soviet communism.

“Like the prayer we raise on high,” the writer continues. “No, the Lord will not permit all of Russia to be plunged beneath the waves.”

It has been called “a monument to human blindness and faith.” It is, indeed, both.

The cross heralded the end of totalitarianism and a new freedom that allowed the message of that cross — in the formerly restricted Holy Bible — to be freely disseminated to the spiritually thirsty populace of the massive now-former Soviet Union. (Though today that freedom is once again under attack.)

The cross on the belltower of Kalyazin is a symbol of a spiritual truth. No matter what anyone might do to a Christian or to the Church of Jesus Christ, the message of the Cross will prevail.

Things might get difficult but … tyrants can’t stop it; demons can’t stop it; politicians can’t stop it. Nothing can stop the message of the Cross!

Ken Horn

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