>between concentration and diversity

>Lighting effects figure in the story of Jesus’s crucifixion. The spotlight is turned on the cross – all else is darkness. Then the metaphorical curtain opens and the lights go up. It is not only the thief crucified with Jesus, or the Roman soldier who realise what a good day this Friday is. The curtain veiling God is ripped from top to bottom – a new act in history begins.

Funny how evil is an anagram of veil.  Today, Good Friday, embraces the evils of what we are able to inflict on one another. Venom and spite concentrated on Jesus was returned with the full force of humanity. Blind passion gives way to a forgiving love which permits no final solution.

IMG_0772A very belated cut to a hedge came to a sudden stop with this discovery.

Then the following morning in this very suburban garden a resident hedgehog revealed itself. The garden is only two years old, and has developed from a wasteland of a former running track (so the builders reckon). So quickly we are teeming with wildlife in an area which was jokingly known for its radio-active streams.

In contrast, how monstrous it seems to fly in the face of such diversity. This photo shows the one-eyed stupidity of such concentrated evil who thought they could control destiny. It was in the concentration camps that Hitler was able to concentrate on absolute power, without the restraint of any other point of view. I came across this quote from Primo Levi, who wrote in If this is a man Never has there existed a state that was really “totalitarian.” … Never has some form of reaction, a corrective of the total tyranny, been lacking, not even in the Third Reich or Stalin’s Soviet Union: in both cases, public opinion, the magistrature, the foreign press, the churches, the feeling for justice and humanity that ten or twenty years of tyranny were not enough to eradicate, have to a greater or lesser extent acted as a brake. Only in the Lager [camp] was the restraint from below non-existent, and the power of these small satraps absolute.”

Auschwitz II entrance
Auschwitz II Entrance – known as Death Gate
photo by vm-ramos

>Life Together

This is from a graphic novel of Bonhoeffer I found on bonhoefferblog.

Bonhoeffer wrote a book called Life Together laying down guidelines for communal living in the 20th century. He was a vehement opponent of the Third Reich. At a time when Nazi policy was to eliiminate the weakest (Jews, gays, gypsies, mentally ill et al) Bonhoeffer was arguing for small family-like units to protect the smallest and the weakest. He used the image of chain links as in this quote from Life Together:

In a Christian community, everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community which allows unemployed members to exist within it will perish because of them. It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the fellowship.

While reflecting on this I have been reading The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (film clip below). This is a very powerful – and very simple – story of two boys who strike up a friendship either side of the wire fence of Auschwitz. A different sort of story of Hitler’s Germany. Another story is told in the film Defiance – a film of four Jewish brothers from Poland who escape the Nazis to fight back to rescue fellow Jews – (on my list of films to see).