I do not endorse the idea that some people are important and others are not important, based on where they live, the color of their skin, the amount of money they make earn, their profession, their education, the things they believe, their heritage, lineage or any other of the false measures humans use to determine a person’s worthiness to be mourned.
One of the most frustrating things for me is the number of people who think only Jewish people were killed in the holocaust when they were only half of the people killed. Please understand this, the other half were NOT troops, prisoners of war, bombing victims or any other folks in situations that caused even more millions of deaths during the late 1930s through the mid-1940s.The other half were gypsies, people who were married to someone identified as being in some small part Jewish, people with mental illness including depression, people accused of being homosexual, anyone who had the audacity to express concerns about the ethics of the government during these horrifying days, and anyone who irritated someone with an “in” with the murders. Each concentration camp death and each family and village who were marched into the woods and shot to death, no matter the excuse, break my heart still. It was never about who these people were. It was always about the lawlessness of a government feeding on fear, government people who whipped the fear into permission to commit horrify acts against old people and children, pregnant women and young mothers, fragile people who often could not even endure alive the journey to the camps.
Then there were the quarter of a million (mostly elderly folks, and women and children) Chinese killed by Japanese soldiers early in WW2, and the thousands of Bosnians killed by the Serbs and vice versa and the native peoples killed by various political juntas in Central and South America in the 1980s and the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the millions killed in Russia in the poms and the dead immigrants fleeing sure death in Syria and other parts of the world, so many dying just trying to get to safety, and the Drug cartels in Mexico and the human traffickers across the world…
It is so much easier to not read history, more comfortable to pretend that things are getting better. And, indeed, some things are getting better in some ways. But in essential ways we have been and continue to be unspeakably cruel to God’s other children, all of us created by a God that longs for us to remember that each and all of us are important, not just the ones that live in our country or our state or our city or our neighborhood.
Yes, it is painful to pay attention. It is heartbreaking to pray for all families experiencing the loss of loved ones from criminal enterprise and from careless driving and from illness. But that is one of the main points of prayer: God gives us the gift of prayer that we might be able to survive allowing our attention to stay on the important things, value all people, work for justice and education and healthy living support and safe housing and adequate food for ALL PEOPLE, not just the ones on our street. And what we pray for passionately, we grow in our ability to work for passionately.
Brothers and sisters, there is no “them”; indeed, we are only us.
Roman 12:5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.