Off the Cutting Edge by Pastor R. Dunlop
CONFRONTING OUR DARKNESS
“Never shall I forget the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith for ever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”
These words were penned by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, describing his first night at Auschwitz.
This painful outcry is a moving reaction to an unbearable sense of inhuman treatment in its most extreme and shameful expression.
Thankfully, there are positive things to be said about humanity and all is not total or permanent darkness. Wiesel, whose parents and sister died in the extermination camps, became a prolific writer and Professor in Humanities in Boston University. As a Jew, his belief in God was gradually restored, but not without a long inward struggle.
All who face the terror of inhuman cruelty find it difficult to hold on to faith in the goodness and providence of God. We have to keep on living with questions while looking for answers.
Thousands of thinkers through the centuries have grappled with these issues and have largely failed to come up with definitive answers.
This is reflected in a contemporary quotation from the writing of a struggling soul to his friend:
I have to look in cracks and crevices.
Don’t tell me how God’s mercy is as wide as the ocean, as deep as the sea.
I already believe it, but that infinite prospect
gets farther away the more we mouth it.
I thank you for lamenting His absences-
from marriages going mad,
from the deaths of your son and mine,
From the inescapable terrors of history: Treblinka, Viet Nam, September Eleven.
It’s hard to celebrate His invisible Presence in the sacrament while seeing His visible absence from the world.
This must be why mystics and poets record the slender incursions of splintered light, echoes, fragments, odd words and phrases like flashes through darkened hallways.
These stabs remind me that the proud and portly old church is really only that cut green slip grafted into a tiny nick that merciful God Himself slit into the stem of His chosen Judah.
The thin and tenuous thread we hang by, so astonishing, is the metaphor I need at the shoreline of all those immeasurable oceans of love. (From correspondence in 2002 between Rod Jellema and Lewis Smedes)
November has arrived and the days are getting darker and shorter.
We, in the Steiner School, celebrate this time with a wonderful festival.
One Friday night, when the sun has set and the stars and the moon come out to brighten the night sky, all the children and parents will come to school.
Together they will make their way into the building, stepping quietly, quietly...
Inside the room candles are lit and they will transform the room.
A puppet-show is starting where a young girl finds a bright lantern and walks through the world sharing her light with those in need.
After the story all children will get a lantern themselves and the girl from the story will light every single one.
When all the lights are lit we all will walk through the night, the stars shining above and us shining on the ground.
Singing special lantern songs we arrive in the school again where we will share some lovely sweet bread and enjoy the lights in the night.
Winter time is a magical time.
Village Green Garden Club The Garden Club is back and running since the summer. We had Jimi Blake in September talking about' Woody Plants,' and Anne Lindfield on' Winter Flowering Plants & Colour in the Garden' in October. This month Billy Moore from the Alpine Garden Society of Ireland will be giving a talk. As always new members are very welcome. Garden Club meetings are on the last Thursday of each month ( except January, June , July, and August ), in the Resource Centre at 7. 30. It's always a lovely opportunity to hear something new about plants and gardening, and enjoy tea, chat and home cooking afterwards. So make a date in your diary for Thursday November 26th in the Resource Centre.