National Holocaust Memorial Weekend (Jan 29, 2023) remembered six million Jews who perished under Nazi genocide — and genocides more recently in Armenia, Rwanda and Croatia, persecution of Uyghurs in China and atrocities against Ukrainian civilians. Listen to this 'Thought for the Day' style short podcast with a word from the Lord about how we as Christians are empowered to make a difference.
A one-minute introduction
A short 'Thought for the Day' style podcast
The recent National Holocaust Memorial weekend remembers six million Jews who lost their lives, often horrifically, from Nazi atrocities. Marked by the BBC Sunday Worship meditation from West London Synagogue, with the lighting of six candles of remembrance, it brought a stabbing, uncomfortable reminder of that evil. And there was a new pain — remembering genocides in Armenia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and atrocities against Uyghurs in China, not to mention Ukrainian village dwellers.
These have been hard and costly lessons. Lessons that have not been learned.
Are we powerless in the face of such evil? In ourselves, evidently so. Do we have any role, any power indeed, to contend for peace and justice against a backdrop of such failure? The evidence suggests not -- but this is not the last word.
The Christian message, the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom is ultimately about God's reign of peace in our hearts. Jesus frequently approaches a sufferer by saying, "Do not be afraid, only believe and trust."
Becoming a Christian is a transformation from one's own independence and rebel cause to recognising the Lord of Lords. A person who has found God's peace is becoming a peacemaker themselves
In every conflict situation, from attacks on politicians, disputes over conditions and pay to neighbourhood and family tensions, there is a higher wisdom we can draw on. In His letter in the Bible, James writes: "The wisdom from above is... pure, peace loving, gentle... and willing to yield. It shows no favouritism... Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness."
Planting seeds is a small, almost hidden contribution that earns no recognition if indeed it is ever noticed. But the results are disproportionate — seeds grow into plants which generate their own fruit. Christians who pray and carry out small acts in a peacemaking way are tiny but effective power brokers who, together, have the capacity to end wars, heal rifts and dissolve conflicts.
Ending his address at the West London Synagogue meditation, Westminster Abbey Canon Theologian James Hawkey offered a gentle challenge: "Can we be co-workers with the Lord's own faithfulness... The choice remains: do we bless one another, or do we curse?
Peacemaking in small and usually unseen ways, through people of no position or reputation, brings changes few recognise — but all reap the benefit.