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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

JUDEN


As I write, my incredible wife Sharon is on her way home from doing humanitarian work in the largest “township” in Johannesburg, South Africa. Two weeks of ministry among many churches in two regions of South Africa finishes in a place where desperately poor mothers abandon infants on trash piles. Babies on trash piles. How can our heart turn away from such human tragedy and need?

Since Sharon is gone I watched several episodes of “Band of Brothers” that I recorded long ago. Her tender heart prevents her from seeing the pain of war, even when it is nothing more that a Hollywood depiction, however, I am inspired and challenged to gratefulness for the “Greatest Generation.” The sacrifices and character of the WW2 Generation must never be forgotten.

I just finished episode 8, where Easy Company comes upon a German Death Camp where Jews were systematically murdered. The Nazis had abandoned the camp and upon finding an emaciated prisoner the shocked American officer asks: “why are you in this camp.” The answer: “Juden.” I could not finish the episode.

I have streaming tears as I think about my friend Henry, who survived a death camp, but lost most of his family. He literally walked over a significant area of Europe looking for his twin sister and miraculously found her alive. I will never forget having dinner together; I could not help but repeatedly sneak peaks at the tattooed numbers on their arms; twins by birth and horrendous experience. I think of my dear friends Josh and Rebekah and their three handsome boys. Jenny, Emme, Zander, Sam, Aaron, Enie…how could anyone want to harm, must less, murder beautiful, talented and incredibly gifted people such as these simply because they are “Juden.”  Yet, even in this very moment there are many who still intend to do exactly that.

I am so grateful to God that I now have the opportunity to learn, to experience and to work with and for my Jewish brothers and sisters, especially for the right of the State of Israel to exist within secure borders with Jerusalem as its undivided capital. We cannot change the past, but we can change the future.

It is not enough that Jews and Christians share similar ethics and religious foundation. We must find ways to cooperate on those things we share in common and forgiveness and understanding for where we do not. And all of us must resolve to join the Jewish people in their steadfast declaration: “never again.”

A simple point where we can begin? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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