while in DC last week, we spent good Friday at the holocaust museum.
it was an amazing journey for a rainy afternoon… walking through and experiencing the horror at the same time jesus was dying on the cross.
the memorial/museum is created to take you on an experiential journey from the rise of Hitler, to the end of WWII: from book burning to the creation of the ghettos, to the ethnic cleansing, the death camps, and on through the liberation and end of the war. the sights, sounds, and even smells carry you into the past when fear and apathy seemed to reign supreme and overshadow the abilities of compassion and truth.
as you enter the main exhibit, you pick up a passport that is the actual identity paper of someone who lived during the holocaust period. The elevator takes you to the fourth floor of the museum where you are surrounded by darkness and sounds of political parades…as you read the signs and view the films and photos, you realize just how quickly life changed for the germans…for the jews especially, but also for others as Hitler took over and made violence and intimidation an everyday occurrence.
I thought of detrich bonhoffer and corrie ten boon …people who chose not to compromise and who chose to stand for truth and really BE jesus. i also thought of hotel Rwanda and the powerful current message it sends and how much we are blind to what is happening in sudan, just as Americans in the 1930’s and 40’s were blind to what was happening in europe.
Would I have been willing to risk my life and the lives of my family to save others?
Am I willing to do that now…today?
Am I willing to stare down falsehood and prejudice and propaganda?
There is a lot of that still around in our era…..
can we as jesus’ followers really stand in the gap for others…and really prevent and protect others from abuse, neglect and even death…