God, Genocide and Hospitality


(Spectrumbot) #1

It is a world of sad anniversaries. It is 75 years this week since the D-Day landings when allied troops began the long haul across Europe to push back Hilter’s troops. It was 20 years last month since the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Balkans crisis, and just 25 years ago Rwanda was in the midst of 100 days of slaughter and genocide. These histories still haunt us today.

As we remember the approximately one million Rwandans who were slaughtered by their neighbours and fellow citizens we ask, “How can such an outburst of undiluted evil ever be explained?” Like all evil, there is no real sense to be made of it, but the influence of theories about race and a view of ‘the other who is different’ is alien to the principles we find in the biblical record.

As a church, we have to wrestle with the fact that there were many who claimed to be Christians—even some ordained to the gospel ministry and placed in leadership positions—whose actions were in stark opposition to the call of Christ. In at least one case, a doctor slaughtered people seeking refuge in one of our hospitals. How can Christians forget our own humanity, and that our brothers and sisters are also created in God’s image? Can we even call ourselves Christians if we forget that, as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)

Valuing life

In the midst of horror too awful for the human mind to truly comprehend, there were some who did remember the biblical teaching about equality and the value of human life. As we reflect on the tragic failure of humanity represented by genocide, let’s not forget to celebrate the heroism of the Muslim man and the native healer woman who famously saved many people from slaughter. There were many others (See Portraits of Heroes).

Most famously, for Seventh-day Adventists, was Carl Wilkens, the ADRA Country director who chose to stay in Rwanda, and was the last American there as the slaughter proceeded. Without any human support to back him up, he confronted the leaders who orchestrated the genocide. God’s power working through him saved many lives.

Carl Wilkens reunited with family in Nairobi following the genocide. (Picture courtsey of C. Wilkens)

Makasi-Courage

But it turns out that the Creator didn’t only have human heroes to call on during the genocide. The story of one of these other heroes is the subject of a short film being released in the lead up to Creation Sabbath, which falls on October 26 this year. The poignant story told in the film, Makasi-Courage, is told by Janvier Nsimyimana, a genocide survivor and student at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines. The producer is another student, Samson Bush Maldonado, who recently graduated. Discover that when humans forget their own humanity, God can still use His creation to reveal His love.

To watch Makasi-Courage, click on the image below:

Makasi-Courage: Janvier Nsimyimana from Geoscience Research Institute on Vimeo.

Hospitality today: World Refugee Sabbath

This is just one story of courage – but as, on 15 June, we participate in World Refugee Sabbath, we remember thousands of people who have, as the Bible describes, “shown hospitality to strangers.” (Hebrews 13:2)

Hospitality is the theme for World Refugee day 2019 as we focus on destination countries and tell stories of hope, healing and acceptance that are changing the lives of millions of displaced people. Find out more how you can participate by visiting adra.eu/refugees.

Watch the trailer of the documentary film that will be released on 15 June here:

Creation Sabbath

The story of Makasi-Courage is also a big reminder of our biblical origins and that we, as humans, were created in God’s image. That is a key reason why the Seventh-day Adventist Church has designated the 4th Sabbath of every October as Creation Sabbath.

This is an important annual reminder because, when we forget that humans were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) and that each one of us is the subject of His infinite love, the God who notes each sparrow that falls (Luke 12:6,7), we are more likely to be tempted by the evil, dividing forces of this world, the forces that lead to biogrty, racism and even genocide.

This is why God wrote in stone that we should remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8), because by doing this we remember that He is our Creator and Redeemer; that each person from the least to the greatest is equal in His eyes. In Christ there can be no genocide, it can only happen when we forget our Creator.

For more information about the joy-filled celebration of Creation Sabbath, visit creationsabbath.net. Additional information will be added to the site as more ideas and resources are made available. You can also find out more by following the Geoscience Research Institute on Facebook.

This article was written by Tim Standish and originally appeared on the tedNEWS website.

Images courtesy of tedNEWS.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9676

(Thomas J Zwemer) #2

The Americans freed a prison of war camp on Luzon. The natives helped.As a result the Japanese herded the entire village into the Church and set the church on fire. if they tried to escape they were shot. Our company helped the sick of the rescued Americans until they were strong enough to travel the more than thirty miles back to a hospital ship. I was in a different platoon of the company so I just heard about the courage and the retaliation.


(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #3

We will continue to remember anniversaries of horrific events - genocides — mass casualty war battles — epidemics
—-natural disasters ,

Meanwhile, all these horrors could have been avoided if Christ had indeed come again in 1844 as the Millerites had wished for.

Meanwhile misery continues apace on this planet, all of which could be curtailed / ended. /. forestalled —-if only a merciful God would
fast forward the Second Coming!

On Calvary’s Cross, Christ declared IT IS FINISHED

We had all assumed that Satan had indeed been vanquished by Christ’s sacrifice, but apparently not — millennia later, Satan still rules supreme with no push back from God nor His Son!


(Patrick Travis) #4

Robin,
What was finished was what Christ came to do.
Rom.3: 25,26.
Things are going as He planned, considering all things above our paygrade.
We don’t want the full playing out of the consequences of sin. Plus, each successive generation has lessons to learn. That’s why revised history is against God’s purposes.
I suggest when sin has reached its climax of deception Christ will come. Good will be called evil and evil good. Then it will be fully seen how the mystery of iniquity rebelled against God’s authority and good intention. Sin will not rise again!


(Patrick Travis) #5

Tom, my wife’s dad was a filipino guerrilla. He loved me for what America did with force to remove the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #6

I recall two who were my patients.One had made a bolo knife out of a car spring.One night he attack a Japanese soldier from behind. he stabbed him in the back and hit his shoulder blade. his hand slide down the blade and nearly cut off three fingers. he was left untreated for weeks. I was to irrigate the wound until the infection was cleared, without success.He lost three fingers. The other was captured by the Japanese strung up between two large bamboo trees and use as bayonet practice. they pierced his lungs in four places but he didn’t Die.So they left him hanging there until friends cut him down and brought his to us. He was beyond surgery. He was place in my ward. There was nothing I could do.But I could see his eyes following me as I treated the other 15. That lasted for over 30 minutes until he died.I still see those eyes.


(Elmer Cupino) #7

“You don’t need religion to have morals. If you cannot tell right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.” – anonymous

Which gives the current issues that are polarizing Church such as WO & LGBT more clarity.


(Sirje) #8

@ezbord

I suggest sin reaches its climax for each of us, as we die from various diseases, at various ages. There can’t be any more horrific demonstration of the consequences of sin than to have life cut short - whatever the age.

To have this go on generation after generation teaches nothing. Each generation has to learn for itself. How much has history taught anybody… as we keep making the same mistakes as the pendulum swings back and forth between opposite ideologies and beliefs.

The current generation knows nothing about what freedom means or what it has cost - not until it has to experience losing it. Have we not noticed history repeats in a regular cyclical order. Has anyone learned anything about the fall of empires, as we continue to repeat the same mistakes.

When it comes to sin - no one stops sinning just because the generations past didn’t work hard enough for Christ to come (according to SDA reasoning) . What exactly is there to learn. Each generation finds injustice and pain, as young people suffer along with the old.


(George Tichy) #9

Adventist “reasoning” has changed the Biblical content (truth) in several fronts. Actually, when one single extra-biblical idea is mixed into the Biblical content, this is called “corrupting the truth.” It will happen every time a “doctrine” is created based on extra-biblical sources.

Genuine Christian faith must be based on the “Sola Scriptura” principle, otherwise it’s no longer Christian.


(Patrick Travis) #10

Hi Sirje,
My intent to successive generations was not that there would ever be a perfect one but simply the necessity of all generations to experience life and make decisions.
I hold to several general teachings about scripture and the 2nd coming (not nightly news events). Mt.24:4-14: 2 Thess.2:1-12.
I personally feel humanity never gives up on a perfect world…not true Christianity. I see/feel that the desire for world peace with strong government leadership and pluralistic, syncretistic “spiritual backing” to save the world will cause a hatred against true Christianity.(i.e. Rome considered Christians atheist because they didn’t accept all it’s “gods.”) The “delusion” is that they, the world system (Rev.17:12-18), think they can do it while in spirit denying Christ as Messiah and God’s scriptural authority and guidance. That is calling good evil and evil good. Not that their message does not give a humanistic appearance of “good.” After all, Satan it seems offered the Angels another plausible way…but not God’s authority.
My take…not asking anyone else to bite.
Regards,
Pat.


(Sirje) #11

I agree completely. When it comes to the entire world, governments and various money powers keep thinking mankind can bring in world peace and fix all the social and environmental problems. Not until the globe is on the edge of extinction, and the social problems have peaked, Christ will come. At that point, no one can believe that given more time, mankind is able to fix it all. Jesus said “unless He came just then, no flesh would be left alive to greet Him”.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #12

One more story, our unit was a clearing Company that became the model for MASH. One day I was assigned to triage. One patient was a Japanese prisoner that had been captured by the Filipinos. He was beaten with bamboo rods. His eyes were swollen shut, he was covers with deep black and blue bruises. The surgeon on duty began his examination by twisting his legs. I said Sir what are you doing. He said, checking for fractures. I said Sir we don’t check our boys that way. . he said, soldier you are out of order. But he stopped. But I remained on his “S” list for the remainder of WWII.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #13

So when the score was evened. We were the assault wave on Panay. on Luzon our platoon lead the way… Now on Panay we were the reserve unit. as such, we were assigned to help unload the LST. our platoon was given the task to carry 105 artillary shells from the back of the LSTup the beach and place them like logs above the water line. we started at 900 and were still at it at about 900 the next day. we were moving very slow. No shells had been removed from our stack so we though there was no rush. The brass has slept through the night. at about 800The Surgeon from the Bronx SOB for short came out on the cat walk and yelled down—“Hay you get a move on”. It’s seemed to be directed at the Chief. a former professional fighter. The chief looked up and said. if you don’t get off that cat walk I am coming up there and put a 105 Shell up your ass. Just then the company commander appeared on the cat walk. the Major said— I want that man Court Marshaled, The Commander said. that is your choice, but if I were you and didn’t want a 105 inserted I would get the hell off this catwalk. We had a new hero. shortly there after we were active as a medical unit. As the island was secured the body count was 8 Americans killed and 800 Japanese. We had plenty of wounded to keep us from any more confrontations. Chief was my best friend.


(Patrick Travis) #14

The Commander wisely knew that Chief Master Sergeants make the Military “nuts & bolts” work…not a Surgeon. Now there is a place for discipline but there is also understanding when to use the authority on your shoulder and the Surgeon was out of his realm.
Good story.


(Kim Green) #15

My husband went to academy with the Wilkins brothers and the story of what Carl did was spectacular especially with even more details told. Though he was, and is, a Christian…what stands out to me is the sheer sense of compassion he had for his fellow man and the complete courage it took.

There have been many others throughout history that have served their fellow man like Carl. Though they come from different beliefs systems and backgrounds it is easy to see their love and compassion for others. There is a famous poem that describes this well:

Abou Ben Adhem

BY LEIGH HUNT

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,

And saw, within the moonlight in his room,

Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,

An angel writing in a book of gold:—

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,

And to the presence in the room he said,

“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,

And with a look made of all sweet accord,

Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”

“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”

Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,

But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,

Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night

It came again with a great wakening light,

And showed the names whom love of God had blest,

And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.


(Kim Green) #16

They inadvertantly make the case for Christianity itself to become more and more irrelevant to younger people. Hard to justify the SDA belief system when the morals/ethics only seem to be applied to certain “privileged” people in the church. I am happy that I don’t have that burden.


(Patrick Travis) #17

Care to clarify the comment?


(Kim Green) #18

What needs to be clarified??


(Patrick Travis) #19

Well, who are “they” and the “privileged”. Just trying to understand the comment.


(Kim Green) #20

"They"…loosely the “Powers That Be”.
"Privileged"…those who the church promotes above others.