I am reading a book by russian author Leo Tolstoy called “Divine and Human and other stories“. It was written around the time of the 1905 Russian revolution. Overall the book has thus far not been a real stand out for me, however, there are a couple of stories that seem blog-worthy for me. The first is one page long, and I shall reproduce it here in its entirety as it expresses sentiment worth considering in our current religious global climate
“The Archangel Gabriel”.
“Once apon a time, the archangel Gabriel heard the voice of God speaking from paradise, blessing someone. Gabriel said, ‘Surely this is some important servant of my Lord, God the Father. He must be a great saint, or hermit, or wise man.’
The archangel went down to earth looking for the man, but he could not find him, neither on earth nor in heaven. Then he addressed God and said, ‘Oh Lord, my God, please show me how to find the object of your love.’
God answered him, ‘Go to this village. And there in a little temple you will see a fire.’
The angel went down to the temple and found a man praying before an idol. Then he went back to God and said, ‘Lord, how can you look with love upon this idol worshipper?’
God said, ‘It is true that he does not understand me properly. Not one man living is capable of understanding me as I am. The wisest of the whole human race are just as far from really understanding me as this man is. I look not at his mind, but at his heart. The heart of this man searches for me, and therefore he is close to me.’ “
I have thought about this story a lot. I can imagine Christians all over saying there is only one way to the Father, through Jesus. I would not dispute them. However, it struck me that while Jesus opens the door for us to enter into relationship with our creator God, there is more than one path leading to Jesus. Every person who enters a relationship with Jesus has their own story, their own journey to that place of revelation. God is not limited to drawing his people to himself through Sunday services or big Christian crusades.