Sunday, 10 November 2013

A Very Special Remembrance Day

"Attitudes towards the Jews during the Holocaust mostly ranged from indifference to hostility. The mainstream watched as their former neighbors were rounded up and killed; some collaborated with the perpetrators; many benefited from the expropriation of the Jews' property. 
In a world of total moral collapse there was a small minority who mustered extraordinary courage to uphold human values. These were the Righteous Among the Nations. They stand in stark contrast to the mainstream of indifference and hostility that prevailed during the Holocaust. Contrary to the general trend, these rescuers regarded the Jews as fellow human beings who came within the bounds of their universe of obligation."-

This past summer I learned that my Grandpa (Kottelenberg) was to be honoured by the Israeli government and a Jewish organization called Yad Vashem for his work hiding Jews during the Second World War.

I was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of awe and pride in my Grandpa. This award is given to men and women who put their own lives at risk to save Jewish people from the Nazis. He did something about the evil he saw in the world. He believed these people who were so different from himself were still worth saving. He acted on his faith.

What an example.

I have prayed so many times since I learned about this that God would work that kind of faith in me. I am so thankful to have grown up in a peaceful country where my life is not threatened by war daily. But I pray that if war came to me, that I would be able to stand for the truth and fight for what is right. I pray that I would be able to humble myself and sacrifice my own comfort and wellbeing for someone else.

And to think, we already have the greatest example of sacrifice and love to live by! It was by this example that my grandpa lived and made his decisions. Without knowing the grace and love of God, he may not have sacrificed himself and his wellbeing for another. He believed that Jesus had already made the ultimate sacrifice for him, and therefore decided to put his own life at risk to fight for what was good and true.

This Remembrance Day, I will be remembering more than just strangers who fought for a cause that was so distant from myself. I've always felt respect for soldiers who fought for what was right. But this Remembrance Day, I know that in at least one instance, the sacrifice that was made impacted whole families, one of them being mine. I know the names and faces of people who lived the truth and were victorious in the face of evil.

Oh, that I may live up to this legacy! I hope and pray that my life may reflect not only the faith of my fathers, but also reflect the One who paid the ultimate sacrifice for me.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. - Ephesians 3: 14-21

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