(A reading by the Reverend Carole Martignacco, 9 April 2013, for the Goldberg Duo concert at Plymouth Trinity United Church, Sherbrooke QC)
Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, honors the millions of lives lost in Hitler’s death camps. When one group of people or one characteristic gets defined as “not us,” “not normal” or outside the common bounds of humanity, terrible consequences can ensue.
Are there lessons for humanity in the horror of this history? (the above is a quote from the UUA Church of the Larger Fellowship DAILY COMPASS Meditation series)
Each one of us must search our hearts. Each of us must root out, with a love and compassion that is ruthless in its honesty, the source of oppression and exclusion in ourselves, asking in our own lives:
Who do we leave out or turn away? Who do we see defined by our society as “not us”? What do we do to welcome the foreigner, the stranger, the outsider into the fold?
Commemorating the Holocaust holds power for us today in that it calls us to confront our own ability, out of perceived difference or distance, to alienate, neglect or deny the well being of those perceived as other. It calls us to renew and expand our love and compassion, our commitment to justice, for all our siblings in the family of humankind.
The Holocaust by sheer magnitude of its cruelty is overwhelming; we can hardly imagine millions of victims. Yet for every number, a name, for every name, a living, breathing, dreaming, loving, growing, thinking, feeling human being. Like you and like me ~ each one, a unique and holy life. May they never be forgotten.
And may our prayer this year and every year be to remember ~
this must never happen again!