Visiting the Holocaust Museum is a very emotional heavy experience. I have personally been through it 15 times. I still see and learn something new every year. I also find myself coming away with a greater resolve to be an advocate for justice… Biblical Justice.
What is Biblical Justice? Last year I had the opportunity to be with the Senior class for Bible. We spent quite a bit of time learning and talking about Biblical Justice. According to the Biblical justice that God sets forth, all humans are equal, all humans are created in His image, and all humans deserve to be treated with fairness and justice. (Bible Project)
Can I get an Amen?
Most of the time when we think of justice being delt.. we think of retributive justice… people get what they deserve, punishment… but really in scripture we see God’s justice is really about the end result being … restoration.
There is a Progression to becoming an Advocate
There is a progression to becoming a person that moves from just caring about themselves to becoming a person that cares about what’s going on in other’s lives around them to becoming a person that is aware of injustice to becoming a person that becomes an advocate for justice… Biblical Justice.
Today’s trip to the Holocaust is a part of the awareness journey we’ve been on this week. As we’ve prepared for the trip, we’ve learned;
- about the freedoms people groups in the nations of the world have and don’t have
- about the injustices suffered by different people groups
- just knowing about it is not enough… our knowledge and concern should move us to do something
- our first line of advocacy is prayer – it takes us there –
- communication with our Father God directs our next move
- we cannot stay silent – lives depend upon us caring and acting upon our new perspective
- we pray, we share, we write … but we do something
The Laying of the Wreath, the American History Museum, African American Museum, the Holocaust, The Bible Museum, Congressman Carter’s office, the Capitol, the Memorials, Embassy Row .. all of these experiences/moments have the ability to begin chipping away at the bubble we live in, the self absorbed bubble and we become young men and women that care, that look outside of their own circumstances and start making a difference in the lives and the world around them …
Right now …
maybe just small steps … maybe just changing the way they act and react around others… the way they appreciate what they have … the way they were looking out just for themselves at the beginning of the trip but by the end of the trip, they are looking out for each other in a more caring way, they are aware of their surroundings, they are more aware of way people around them act (this is a biggie) they way they respond begins to change… it’s subtle, but usually … it’s there!
Sometimes they don’t see it … but it’s there.
Tonight we talked about the things we heard and saw in the museum… how they made us feel … how they made us think.
One student said, I was walking through thinking, “Thank God this doesn’t happen any more… then I walk into the new section and see the atrocities happening in Syria … right now! It DOES still happen… (it honestly blew the minds of those that went through the section) Yes is does still happen … we just need to be aware … so we can be a part of the solution.
If you want to be a part of bringing about justice … think about starting here … learning about it.. https://www.ushmm.org/genocide-prevention/countries
Let it start with prayer. It might move you to give, or write, or share with others. so they’ll do the same … pray, give, write, share with others.
As we were preparing to leave, of course I must always check the gift shop for new curriculum/books I can use when I teach or share about justice and injustice. For the first time EVER there was a guest Holocaust survivor in the gift shop. I was thrilled because you only get to hear the ‘first person series’ in the springtime. Elly was selling her books. She is 90 years old. She was taken to the concentration camp a 14.5 and was released when she was 16. She is the only one of the family to survive. We visited briefly with her. I was thrilled our students would get to meet a survivor. I bought the video for them to watch back at Summit and again… learn.
We can pray
We can share with others.
We can write.
We can give.
We can … do something!
It starts with us… in our small circle… how we value each other … as people who are created in God’s image and then, like the pebble in the pond… our caring expands … until maybe our prayer reaches the shore of a distance land … and someone who is crying out for someone to care… is touched, helped, rescued!
Please God … use us … to show your beautiful, amazing, grace giving restorative justice.