As we wrap up a very fruitful Christian Leadership Seminar, I am left with greater resolve than ever before to refuse to be silent, and to exhort others to understand the importance of God’s chosen land and God’s chosen people to our own lives as Christians.
For over 3 days we have been reminded of the Jewish roots of our Christian faith, and how critical it is to recognize the Biblical importance of the land of Israel and the Jewish people. For a short time yesterday, we toured the United States Holocaust Museum and were vividly reminded what happens when we forget or neglect that.
The US museum, though incomparable to the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, is very well-done and presents the plight of Jews during the Holocaust. To give you a glimpse, I have included two pictures that reveal the atrocities. In the photo to the right you see a mockup (to scale) of a Nazi death camp, with portions of the walls and ceilings cut away to allow a view of what occurred there. The large “holding tank” that appears to be underground is actually a death chamber. Jews were tightly packed in hundreds at a time, fully unclothed and with their heads shaved. (Thoroughly humiliating enough.) They were told they were entering a shower. Once they were packed in, the overhead showerheads indeed began to spray. But rather than water, zyklon B gas was dispensed, killing all who were packed in.
Once the masses were murdered, they were brought up by a lift to the ovens at ground level to be burned, leaving no remains of those who suffered so terribly.
The photo to the left is a mound of shoes…and every Holocaust museum seems to have one. Notice the incomparable evidence of thousands of lives who, at one time, wore those shoes. It is a very sobering picture that brings a bit of humanity to the situation. These weren’t just bodies…they were real people, with real lives, and with names.
I am happy to say that Jewish-Christian relationships are growing at a very significant rate. As we all shared our little part of the collective commitment, we were awed by one another’s testimonies of efforts to educate Christians and build bridges to the Jewish community. It is happening, and I hope you will join the effort.
Though I could spend days trying to describe the “how’s” and “why’s,” I simply want to leave you with a quote that is found in Holocaust museums around the world. Please ponder….and speak out for Israel, and against antisemitism.