A Monument To Defeat Or Victory

Max Fleischmann writes in "Monument to Defeat," the following: On the scenic foothills of the Alatoo Range in northern Kyrgyzstan there is a spot that looks up to the peaks of the towering Celestial Mountains, and down across the valley to the city of Bishkek. They have built there a great monument complex in honor of the Kyrgyz people. Its name is Ata-Beyit.

But there is something different about this place. Most monuments of such a grand scale are built to commemorate national victories and grand achievements. But this place, however, was built specifically as a monument to remember great tragedy. Specifically, there are three heartbreaking events that the Kyrgyz people remember together on that scenic hill.

There is a soaring monument to the tragedy of 1916 when the Tsar Nicholas II decreed that all Kyrgyz men be conscripted into the Russian army to fight in the First World War. On that mountaintop some 100,000 died, either massacred by soldiers or lost in the brutal winter. The second monument on that hill remembers 1938 when at the personal instruction of Joseph Stalin, 137 leading citizens—writers, teachers, artists, and politicians—were rounded up and led up those hills to be murdered. The third monument remembers 2010, when eighty-four young people were lost in a single day, murdered for protesting against yet another brutal regime, standing in the way of freedom.

Nothing but tears on that mountain … but the Kyrgyz people believe these must forever be remembered for they are magnificent tragedies. Despite the oppression of their worst enemies, and the tears of these most painful events, the Kyrgyz people have not only persevered, but they are today a proud and thriving people.

Sometimes there are events that appear to be so traumatic that they simply must be memorialized—and every Christian understands this. You see, on the foothills, just outside of another great city, there is another site remembered with many tears. It is a mountain that is a monument to unthinkable injustice. And while it would be impossible to remember that place without being moved by its terrible tragedy, we remember it because of something so magnificent in that what appeared to be a great tragedy, became a great victory. On that terrible hill—by his wounds, we were healed. On that terrible hill—through his cross, we are saved. On that terrible hill—death may have won the day, but life-everlasting secured an unbreakable victory.

Some people might ask why go to so much trouble to memorialize a mount of such great painful sorrow. We would say that some apparent defeats are worth remembering, precisely because they contrast the magnificence of the final victory that overcame the evil of that place.
The Kyrgyz people have a mountain, and its name is Ata-Beyit. The people of God have such a mountain. Its name is Calvary, and we remember it not because it was a place of defeat but rather a place of Victory! And on this Palm Sunday we again celebrate with great affection the Cross and the events around it that changed our lives forever—to God be the Glory great things He has done.

As we celebrate the Holy week, be sure to note and participate in all the upcoming commemorations… from our Good Friday lunches to our musical praises. And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your pastor!

For God’s Glory Alone,

Pastor Ray

Posted in
Posted in

No Comments