Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day – the day set aside for peoples across the world to remember and reflect on the atrocities human beings committed against one another during World War 2, especially the genocide of millions of Jewish people in Europe. We would like to believe that violence against Jewish people – because of their ethnicity, their religion, and their culture – is a horror we left in the past. Unfortunately, violence against Jewish people and Jewish communities is on the rise – in Austin, across Texas, in the US, and around the world.
I can’t help but think of other atrocities committed against entire people groups because we fear difference – the US interment of our own citizens of Japanese descent during WW2; immigrants seized at the US/Mexico border and held in US detention prisons or Mexican border camps; Palestinians pushed out of their homes in Jerusalem; Russian troops amassing at the Ukrainian border, threatening the people of a sovereign nation.
Today is a day to recall the brokenness of our world and the part we play in perpetuating violence, racism, xenophobia, and warfare.
But it is also a day to recall that God has a different vision for our world – a vision in which, ‘the better angels of our nature’ prevail and we help to create communities of reconciliation and peace, communities of welcome and hospitality, communities of opportunity and equality, communities of wholeness and hope – a world in which all people will ‘beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Isaiah 2:4).
I long for that day. And I pray for that day. Especially today!