Recent tensions with Russia in the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have propelled the name of Estonia to the fore many times over the past couple of years. Most of us probably don’t know much about this country, whose total population is little more than that of Birmingham, and which recent reports indicate is one of the least religious countries in Europe, if not the world. As far more reputedly believe in folk lore spirits and ‘life force concepts’ than in Christ, I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to feature Estonia in this edition.).
Estonians acknowledge that years of prosperity had led to a high degree of complacency, but that they are now feeling decidedly vulnerable to Russian aggression – and anything but reassured by the outrageous claim made by a veteran Republican, Newt Gingrich, that, so far as he is concerned, Estonia is ‘just a suburb of St Petersburg’.
Occupied in turn by the Soviets in 1939, then by the Nazis, and then by the Soviets again, Estonia experienced profound trauma and turmoil during the Second World War. By the end of it, a horrifying 25% of the population had either been sent to Siberia, fled the country or been killed.
Music has long played a special part in sustaining the spirts of the Estonian people, especially during the years of upheaval involved in seeking to become an independent nation, free from Soviet control.
I recently heard about an extraordinary event which played a particularly powerful part in this process bringing about this release. It has become known as the Singing Revolution, in which an unbroken chain of two million people held hands over 600 kilometres.
Until very recently this is a story that has not been told outside Estonia, but now a film has been made about it: “The Singing Revolution” This is a story worth sharing!”
Especially in the light of Russia’s apparent interest in regaining control of these countries, where a fair percentage speak Russia as their mother tongue. (We saw in a previous edition, in Revived Russian Imperialism how this has served in the past as an excuse for Putin to intervene militarily in a region.
Like Ukraine, the Baltic States have been on the receiving end of serious cyber attacks. They are very concerned at how incredibly swiftly military exercises could switch to full blown invasion. It is surely right for to keep this matter in prayer!
Years ago my book Praying Together was translated into Lithuanian, which gives me some highly tenuous second hand involvement in the region.
May the Lord touch the hearts of the Estonian people at this time, and bring about a spiritual awakening that breaks through the complacency – and may He use the power of spiritual music in this process!
I was struggling to find Estonian worship on the web, but you might find it helpful to join with this Estonian choir that was worshipping in Christ Church Jerusalem