Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day 7 afternoon: What is our charge?

In the middle of the day, we walked through the Holocaust Museum. Sorry, no photos. This was not a time for photos to be taken. For many, we had seen museums dedicated to truth telling of the atrocities of humanity upon fellow humans. And yet, we were all anxious to walk in. Indeed it was a powerful, heart breaking and undeniably transformative experience. It took us several hours.

I noticed the faces of groups arriving, with smiles, talk, energy and life. And I noticed the faces of those leaving, eyes down, quiet, bodies still and solemn steps taken.

Our group reflected tonight how powerful the museum experience was AND how sad it is that humanity continues to repeat such evil acts of human violence, systematic oppression and annihilation of entire races or populations. We were deeply troubled knowing the world today struggles to reconcile with this very truth. Maybe not to the scale of the Jew’s loss of life, but nevertheless, the systematic oppression and killing of peoples in the hundreds of thousands while the world seems to stand back and watch. Countless examples of refugees denied entry as the Jews were denied sanctuary in the United States and Britain. The killings in Guatemala, El Salvador, Rwanda, the Middle East, parts of Eastern Europe, parts of Asia are a few examples. And the reality that those who were oppressed in the past and now have power, often repeat the same upon others. The group did not resolve this - and neither did I.

Our hearts were heavy … and yet, we prayed to better understand how God was forming us today and this week to be agents of love, liberty, justice and peace in a broken world tomorrow.

How is God trying to wake us up, the people of St Bartholomew's, and send us out into the world? Romans 12:9-21 gives us the charge:

Marks of the True Christian Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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