Archive for June, 2018

THE BOOK OF BOOKS

June 22, 2018

Bible-for-LIVING-THE-WORDWhy is the Bible so magnetic, with the unusual power and ability to attract? Why is it the best-selling book of all times? First of all, because it is the story of how Man was (and is!) seeking and approaching God – the Superhuman Being Who is enigmatic and incomprehensible, loving and just, ready to forgive and to punish, seeing much farther than the mortal earthlings can see. Getting to know God is a continuous process in which Man is becoming aware that there is the Higher Imperative granted to him. Man is free to accept or reject the Imperative. In case of acceptance he becomes a New Man filled with joy and confidence in the future that are FAITH.

The Bible is versatile: in it, there’s spiritual history, poetry, instruction, vision of the future, wisdom that has been forged and polished during thousands of years, meditation, talk with God, letters to other believers. Penned by many authors in the course of many centuries and embodied in dozens of genres, translated into hundreds of languages and existing in several variants for almost each language of translation, the Bible was written in the same breath, with the same strength of passion, with knowledge and assurance about the correctness of the principles stated.

The Bible had a tremendous influence on history, literature, arts and, generally, on our civilization. Inversely, one cannot understand present-day civilizational values and mentality without studying the Bible.

The Bible is a kind of mirror in which you simultaneously see two faces of yourself. It convicts you to see how imperfect you are. It challenges you to reach the ideal it contains.

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“LINGER ON, THOU ART SO FAIR!”

June 21, 2018

The summer solstice is neither the “beginning of summer” nor “midsummer” for me, as it is often described on the Internet. However, I’m charmed by the numerals accompanying the solstice. Various articles say that at the moment of the Sun’s “turn” from lengthening days to shortening days, Earth’s rotational axis is inclined towards our star at 23 degrees 44 minutes. Officially, the sunrise in Kyiv was at 4:44 this morning (as it was seen from my balcony on the 16thfloor, the sun rose at 4:44:50, which I duly documented with my camera – see the photo), and the sunset will be at 21:15. The daylength on June 21, 2018 is 16 hours 15 minutes in Kyiv. To compare: on this date the daytime at my son’s place in Leeds (the UK) lasts 17 hours 5 minutes, and in Tbilisi (Georgia), where my daughter lives, 15 hours 12 minutes. In Fairbanks (Alaska), where none of my close or own live, it’s as long 21 hours 45 minutes, and in more northern regions the sun will not set at all.

For me, the summer solstice has got a streak of sadness in it. It’s the symbol of how unceasingly and inexorably the sands of time run and of how impossible it is to “stop the moment.”

Werd ich zum Augenblicke sagen:
Verweile doch! du bist so schön!

(Ah, linger on, thou art so fair!).

Early this morning, in an intuitive attempt to make the time “linger on,” I went to the nearby lake – a three-minute walk from my home. I backstroked in the warmish water looking into the cloudless sky that was continuously crisscrossed by swallows and seagulls. And coming home, I browsed the Internet for “solstice sites.”  Two of them – the one on which the pre-solstice time is counted down, and the site where the local exact time is shown seemed to me quite applicable. I snapped them, thus fulfilling, in a way, Doctor Faustus’ dream of halting the moment. The moment of admiration for life. Expressed numerically, it was 13:07:00 in Kyiv.


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