Last night our town once again gathered for Kupala. Kupala is an ancient, mythological festival centering around a larger bonfire which single men jump over (to prove they are brave), hunting of ferns in the forest (to find their true love), and young maidens adorning wreaths which they release into the water (which can be caught by those brave young lads).
Like many of our own western holidays (eg. easter, valentines day), these are rooted in pagan history, adapted throughout history by religion, sprinkled with modern day commercialism and gobbled up by the masses.
I’m convinced the real reason for these events lies in our design. We are social creatures. If the starbucks culture has taught us anything, its that we prefer to be out from behind desks, computers, vehicles, and around our kind. Why do we so enjoy large sporting events, concerts and even gathering as believers on a Sunday? It’s cool to see 100’s gather in our town, in freedom, kids walking with their parents (most have just one kid), cotton candy, jumping slide, and the smell of fresh naturally grilled pork (sashleek). It’s healthy, especially within a culture that tends to hide itself in tiny apartments and dingy bars.
I feel a growing sadness for this culture. They’ve been through so much. Their land has been pillaged, their government is a brood of thugs. What should be a rich tradition of agrarian family centered culture (our town is over 700yrs old!), is instead a strange mixture of pagan, and shallow western adaptation. Whether the average Ukrainian realizes it or not, the soviets, in their 70yrs, robbed this people of a sense of identity, and you feel it at these events. What they elevate as history, or tradition, is a selective salad bowl of nonsense, rooted in nothing that would motivate, elevate or educate them towards a greater good. Behind the smiling faces is a wandering culture, individualistic, surviving, tired.
Would God raise up young men and women of purpose in this part of the world? A generation that know their God, and walk with Him? A generation enthused for God and His Kingdom culture. How attractive, how inspiring, what light would shine from that generation. How excellently it would dispel the darkness and ignorance.
We don’t need religion, we need a spiritual revolution. We need an awakening. We need you O Light of the Nations! – Isaiah 49:6
Bruce & Deborah
Missionaries | Ukraine