Russian scriptural meditations for the new year

There are two new year’s meditations in the Russian book, “Day by Day”. I have made a Lewis connection at the end of the second one:

First meditation:

Scripture: “Love will last forever, even though prophesies will come to an end, tongues will cease and knowledge will come to an end.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)


"The coming New Year usually leads to the thought about the short-term nature of everything earthly. But it seems to me that this time of year should remind us of what never comes to an end. When year after year passes into eternity I do not mourn the things that it takes with it, but rather am amazed at what it leaves with us. Apparently, St. Paul had the same impression. For him it is obvious that “prophesies will come to an end, tongues will cease and knowledge will come to an end”, but he is amazed that “love will last forever” – one hears a triumphant note in this pronouncement. And in completing the past year, we should try to remember what we have been enriched with this year, not temporarily, but forever. What can one say about love, which never grows old, which knows neither time nor space, which in its essence is infinite, limitless? I would say that the thought of it should be paramount within us at the beginning of the new year. There is something in the world over which time has no power: the human heart. Everything else dwindles and wears out; our capabilities weaken, our strength betrays us, our memory weakens, but the heart remains unchanged – it is not fated to lose the ability to love, it should always remain open wide for everything elevated and wonderful, for every need, for every sorrow; the human heart is the plant which does not perish from storms or inclement weather, but remains green and flowers even during freezing snow-filled days.

"The song of love sounds within our heart when our voice betrays us; when our eyesight darkens, the bright rays of faith pierce this darkness and illuminates it. Don’t look at the fading leaves, your heart has remained young despite the years that have passed.

“The eternal love of God which sent the rainbow after the flood has not changed to this day, the gaze of Divine love has not dimmed, the strength of that love has not abated. The heavens and the earth shall pass away, but love will last forever.”

Second meditation:

Scripture: “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there” (Acts: 20, 22)


" ‘What will happen to me there’, – Paul had no idea what would happen; he could not predict what dangers, misfortunes, tribulations or disappointments awaited him. Ahead lay complete uncertainty, but with his usual courage, Paul says: ‘I am going to Jerusalem’. He was not one of those individuals who do not carry out their duty without knowing what this duty will demand of them.

"All of us stand on the threshold of the untried and unknown future in exactly the same way; we don’t see anything in front of us, we only try with fear and trepidation to enter into this uncertainty.

" ‘What will happen to me there?’ I don’t know, and no power can reveal it to me. Our guesses are in vain, we don’t know anything, – what eventualities we will encounter, whether grief or joy await us, whether our future fate resembles the past, or whether there will be something totally different. Let us not get lost in guesswork, but rather go bravely forward, as St. Paul, following God’s will, and He Himself will clear the way before us.

"So ‘what will happen to me?’ Changes and unexpected events are inevitable and then, in the future, sooner or later, the inevitable end awaits us.

"Let us go there ‘compelled by the Spirit’. Only the hope in God can motivate us to go forward calmly and bravely. Let us not be concerned about tomorrow – the Lord himself will take care of it.

Surrounded by darkness, not seeing anything in front of us, let us stretch out our hand and grab a hold of His hand, which is ready to support and lead us. Then we will be able to say: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me’ ".

A Lewis quote which comes to mind which coincides with the above meditation is from his essay, "The World’s Last Night:

"To play well the scenes in which we are ‘on’ concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it.

“In King Lear (III:vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not given him a name: he is merely ‘First Servant’. All the characters around him – Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund – have fine long-term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they are quite wrong. The servant has no such delusions. He has no notion how the play is going to go. But he understands the present scene. He sees an abomination (the blinding of old Gloucester) taking place. He will not stand it. His sword is out and pointed at his master’s breast in a moment; then Regan stabs him dead from behind. That is his whole part: eight lines all told. But if it were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted.”


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

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