Thursday, February 17, 2011


As Annelie and I walk from our usual hotel towards downtown Wiesbaden, occasionally we angle off to the left towards the old Roman wall thrown together so hurriedly against the Huns. About two blocks up is a small street marker that never fails to stop us. Across the street is a gapping hole, like a front tooth knocked out in a brawl. The Jewish synagogue once stood there before “the Night of the Long Knives.” Shut your eyes, your ears, your senses five: nothing can shut out what soon would be happening. We continue to be caught up in that particularly gaming of “truth and consequences.”

What follows is a contrast, yet a commentary. Some years later, Annelie and I were in a tour group in Old Jerusalem, at the Wailing Wall to be precise. It was a Saturday, a time of precious memory to be standing where Jesus once had walked, a place that Paul and the other disciples and apostles knew so well. We wanted to preserve that moment, sacred as it was to us. Then there was a yell and a jabbing hand. An elderly Jew was shoving at our cameras. It was to him the Sabbath and clicking a camera shutter was “work” and a violation of sacred Law.

Even as I felt violated by him, I could not but both wonder where he – and his family – were on that Night of the Long Knives,. History should teach us: but what? As I this morning opened my sacred historical record of the Acts of the Apostles, of one thing I had a certainty: we humans love to put one side up and one side down. The very thought of post traumatic stress is enough to surface the resolve to open our hearts and minds to the other: as humans, there is no “us” and “them.”

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