Taking a Side: An Ode To Elie Wiesel (and others)

(while trying out the WordPress iPhone app for publishing on the go…)

Elie Wiesel passed away recently, so I decided to read Night, his first book. It is a good reminder – of a lot of things. One of these, as God so often arranges, turned out to be a common theme running through my morning time…

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.

“Without faith no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all.

“We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone, they belong to those who need us desperately. … [because] our survival has meaning for mankind. ”

(1986 Nobel Peace Prize address)

Living for yourself helps no one, not even yourself. How much of life is a lesson in living and sharing with and for others! Any others, our others, all others…

Ecclesiastes 2:11 NIV Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; no thing was gained under the sun.

“…[Solomon] concluded that all his endeavors lacked real meaning and lasting satisfaction. …quite a contrast to what Jesus offers in John 10:10 ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ‘

“…a life of meaning and purpose, enjoying fellowship with Him and each other. We can chase after material wealth, popularity, or earthly achievements [me: and pleasures] but we will end up feeling empty [and we will be alone] or we can follow Jesus, striving to know, love, [to know love], and serve Him [and others] better each day and have abundant life. ”

(Dianne N Matthews “Mornings With Jesus”)

Think It’s A Wonderful Life.

“To simply articulate our [beliefs] but not roll up our sleeves and offer positive alternatives is to play the part of the hypocritical Pharisees. The easy thing is talking and voting; the hard thing is being personally invested [in some way].”

(Bryan Loritts A Cross-Shaped Gospel, Men of Integrity magazine)

“You have to get in the middle of it. You have to take sides. Make a contribution to the fight. Any fight. The one you believe in. ”

(Arnold Epstein in the classic Biloxi Blues)

Emphasis mine.

And this, God’s message, as we approach the last day of a week-long visit with my late sister’s family from Wisconsin. My others. And prepare to return to my fight, encouraging others to learn to know Jesus, The Way, especially those in my community: those recovering from hurts, habits, and hang-ups, desperately seeking meaning in the dawn after a long, dark night.

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