Dear Mosaic Family,
To mix things up, this week's newsletter is brought to you courtesy of another Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky.
In Dostoevsky's Brother's Karamazov, a "Society Lady" goes to an elder of the monastery begging him to help alleviate her suffering.
"I suffer... from lack of faith."
"Lack of faith in God?"
"Oh, no, no! I dare not even think of that. But the future life--it is such an enigma...The thought of the life beyond the grave distracts me to anguish, to terror."
She wasn't struggling with believing in God.
She was struggling with trusting God.
She believed that God is love.
She had a hard time believing God loves her.
The elder, being "deeply versed in the human soul," answers:
“No doubt. But there’s no proving it, though you can be convinced of it. By the experience of active love. Strive to love your neighbour actively and indefatigably. In as far as you advance in love you will grow surer of the reality of God and of the immortality of your soul. If you attain to perfect self-forgetfulness in the love of your neighbour, then you will believe without doubt, and no doubt can possibly enter your soul. This has been tried. This is certain.”
Her response: "You see, I so love humanity that — would you believe it? — I often dream of forsaking all that I have, leaving Lise (her daughter), and becoming a sister of mercy... No wounds, no festering sores could at that moment frighten me. I would bind them up and wash them with my own hands. I would nurse the afflicted. I would be ready to kiss such wounds.”
She imagines herself so loving, that she would leave her daughter, to go help others.
The elder responds: “It is much, and well that your mind is full of such dreams and not others. Some time, unawares, you may do a good deed in reality.”
He then tells her about a doctor he had recently seen.
The doctor said, "‘I love humanity,’ he said, ‘but I wonder at myself. The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular. In my dreams,’ he said, ‘I have often come to making enthusiastic schemes for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually have faced crucifixion if it had been suddenly necessary; and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together, as I know by experience. As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he’s too long over his dinner; another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I detest men individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity.’
Why does it seem so easy to love "humanity in general" and so hard to love "people in particular" (especially roommates)? How does loving particular people convince us that God truly loves us?
Join us tomorrow as we meditate on 1 Corinthians 13, to find out.
This Week's Announcements
Baptism at Mosaic
Sunday, August 18, 5 p.m.
Want to be baptized? The first step toward baptism at Mosaic is to attend our baptism class. Contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Leaving Boston? Stay Connected!
Songs for Sunday
If you would like to know what we'll be singing on Sunday, you can find the playlist here.