Unbearable Sorrow- Look, See, Pray

It is Holocaust Memorial Day… 77 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. The very name of Auschwitz is a stain on history, a memory of senseless slaughter and unbearable sorrow. We must not forget.

As uncomfortable as it is, the Holocaust reminds us that when hatred and power are united behind any political extremism the only winner is Death. Our tears for the victims may mean we do not repeat the crime: although history does not make encouraging reading. There are too many scars, too many mass graves, too many power-seeking manipulators selling lies. This is deeply rooted in human society.

Even the Prince of Peace, Jesus, warned of the dreadful expectation of unbearable sorrow to come: “The sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” He also foretold “there will be wars and rumours of wars…” before the final resolution of the mess we have plunged ourselves into. BUT Jesus did tell us not to be afraid because there will be an ending to grief and the establishment of the rule and reign of God throughout Creation.

Sorrow should humble us; compassion should lead to prayer and action for peace and healing. At our best moments, humans are profound and eloquent: take these words from a “freedom fighter” who learned that hate cannot be allowed to win…

‘For to be free is not merely to cast off ones chains
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.’
Nelson Mandela

Holocaust Memorial Day is a call to prayer: a prayer for Israel, prayer for minorities and the helpless, and prayer that we may be given strength to stand against evil in all its forms. It is even a call to pray for our enemies, the persecutors, the exploiters – and our own failings.

The Early Church had a simple prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus, return soon.”

Can you think of a better or more appropriate prayer for this day of sorrow? And for the dangerous world we inhabit where vainglorious leaders hold arsenals that terrify sane persons?

Come, Lord Jesus, come soon.

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