Monday, March 02, 2009

Blessed by a priest on the train...

Saturday as Alida & I were sleeping on the train from Krasnodar to Kiev, Ukraine - the door of our coupe opened & in walked a Ukrainian Orthodox Priest in full gold garb & costume, chanting some words in Russian, splashing us with holy water, while an altar boy behind him carried the chalice filled with holy water.

The Priest said, "I am waking you up this morning to bless you & your travel." He then held out the gold cross icon to my lips, & when I kissed the air in front of the cross he said, "I see you are a believer." By this time I was sitting up, had put my glasses on so I could see, & wondering why we were being 'punked' on the train? Then the priest set a wooden collection box with a padlock on our little table, saying, "You are free to give anything to God...any amount of money - large or small..." Then like a great salesperson...he just stood there as Alida & I rubbed sleep out of our eyes. If I had been awake & thinking better I don't think I would have reached into my jeans pocket & slipped some rubles in to the wooden box!

For me, sometimes God DOES surprise me like a 'thief in the night' who busts into my life when I am sleepy or not paying attention. But unlike the Priest, he's not intrusive & much more patient. If I hadn't been asleep when the Priest came in, it probably wouldn't have seemed to be one of the most bizarre things that I have encountered!
-Tom

2 comments:

  1. Funny! This is Kacie, I'm with East-West, not sure if you remember me! In any case, this reminded me of my trip to the sub-continent over christmas. On the train there beggars would walk through chanting in urdu. We couldn't understand them but we did hear "Allah" a lot, and it was clear that they were reminding people of Islam's moral imperative to give to the poor to gain salvation...

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  2. Kacie, of course we remember you!!

    Tom says that he is used to the people selling things coming through, whether it is magazines or books, tools, ice cream and candy, fish or even exchanging money at the border. He was not used to a priest making house calls!

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