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Archive for November, 2014

In the Waiting

I am not a good waiter,

and by waiter, I mean someone who (has to) wait.

I think that many people are not good waiters. I especially think that today, Black Friday.

Black Friday, the day that follows American Thanksgiving, is a day of reckless shopping, spending and individualism. It is the human behavioral evidence that we do not see benefit from waiting. Ironically, Black Friday falls just two days before the next holy season, on the church calendar, that of Advent.

Advent means coming, and when something is coming, someone is waiting.

Advent is about remembering the waiting for the arrival of the Messiah (as a babe) and the waiting we do now for his second arrival. He is coming again and that coming is Advent.

To know someone or something is coming is a far more exciting waiting than any other. For in this waiting is the promise that our waiting is not in vain. What we must always remember is that there is purpose, there is the attainment of skills and strength, and humility that will make us ready for the day that the promise is fulfilled.

As we walk through this Advent season, let’s try to prepare for the promise of Christ, just as we do in the gifts and food and parties of the other side of this holiday.

When we are in the waiting, ask the question,

What will you teach me through this, God?

The Bible is full of waiting for something to come. It is also full of promises that the waiting would not be in vain.

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God won’t give us more than we can handle …

Tell that to the mom nursing her child through the horrible effects of cancer treatment.

Tell that to the student who has dreamed all their life of becoming a doctor, and has not been accepted to a medical school.

Tell that to the man, whose wife, and mother to his three young kids, has just died in a car crash.

Tell that to the woman whose husband has just declared that he no longer loves her, but is leaving her for another woman.

Tell that to the father whose son is a drug addict, living on the streets in a large city, selling his soul to feed his habit.

Or to the twelve year old who has been enslaved in the sex trade.

Or to the family whose every earthly belonging, home included, was swept away by flood waters.

Where in the Bible, are we told that God will not give us more than we can handle? Is it New Testament or Old Testament teaching? Did Moses say those words? Or Paul? Or Jesus? Maybe it was Job?

The closest thing to that rather pithy saying would be found in 1 Corinthians 10:13,

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.
And God is faithful;
he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But, when you are tempted,
he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Of the numerous commentaries I consulted, there were also numerous interpretations of this teaching.

When I went back to read the first thirteen verses of the chapter, I started to develop my own commentary, and it had little to do with the words that could act like the salt in the wounds of the one who feels their cup is full of trouble. The words,

God will not give us more than we can handle …

Those first thirteen verses refer to the temptations which are common to man, through the history of the world. Temptations like greed, lust, envy, gluttony, laziness, pride, wrath (I am sure there are more, but I figure the seven deadly sins are about as common to man as we can get). In this passage we are warned to not give in to these temptations, and encouraged that God will provide a way so that we can resist such evil.

These temptations are very different from troubles inflicted by others, or to our human bodies. These temptations have nothing to do with a little girl, in India, being sold into sexual slavery.

IMG_1618-0.JPGI will no longer, ever, use that phrase, like salt in the most painful lacerations of a human soul, for I believe it to be a self righteous salve that can cause pain to increase even more. It does not offer comfort, but demands that we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

Instead, I will lead the hurting to words which are, indeed, from God’s Word,

I have told you these things,
so that in me you have have peace.
In this world you will have trouble,
but take heart
I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

As Jesus was delivering the message of his own, impending demise, to his disciples, he tells that the words above. They are the aloe to a bad burn, the soothing comfort of love and of hope, in response to a very real reality …

You see, in this world we WILL have trouble. All of us, at some time, guaranteed.

But,

in the heartache, in the desperation, in the loneliness, in the pain, in the despair, and even in death

Jesus reminds us that He has already overcome the world.

Victory may not be ours, here on Earth, this very day,

but He has won the battle, and we live with Eternity in our hearts.

Hope, not demands.

That is the example he has given us.

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One of our kids desires to spend Christmas with extended family … on the opposite coast of the country. Although my momma heart wants all of my kids with me for Christmas, I also desire greatly for our kids to not miss out on opportunities to spend time living their own lives. I felt I had easily made peace with this desire, until the other day …

“I just don’t want to be here at Christmas”

Wanting to be away is one thing, but to not want to be here … ouch!

That very same day, another child returned from a weekend retreat with our church youth group. I was so excited to hear about his time away, until I heard his reply to my question about his time away …

“It was great! I just love being at camp so much better than being here

I felt the knuckle punch, hard, to my abs, my throat.

Ah, but it didn’t end there!

My daughter’s and I had a plan to go to the church that my eldest attends, but then she had to work later than planned. I suggested that, rather than leave her out, we could go to another church together, later in the day. Together was, in my mind, the joy. Well, child number three, when we got back home from church, was out of the vehicle and into her room, with her door shut, faster than I could lower my feet from the vehicle.

Apparently, it was not her church of choice, and not joy-filled.

I went to bed that night feeling rather low, unappreciated, unloved.

It was not that they were desiring bad things, but that they were desiring them … more.

more than me.

As I worked through the scar tissue, I realized what my problem was how I heard their words … I heard them through momma ears, where there are momma-sized regrets.

I heard their words of preference of another place, through my memories of saying no to things that they have wanted me to do with them, over the years. The times they wanted just one more story, the times they wanted to go to the park, or play a board or video game, or make cookies, or have a tea party, or go for coffee.

What I heard was my own condemnation, my own guilt, my own regrets.

Moms, we need to stop living the guilt-laden life. We need to stop looking back, with regret and sadness over our choices, mistakes and weaknesses. We need to live

today.

We need to look forward, not back.

Our children are moving forward, grabbing for life’s new adventures, and we need to cheer them on, and be thankful that they want to share the stories of their life with us.

In the days since my momma version of the horrible, terrible, no good, really bad day, I have been embraced by arms and words of love from my three. With each embrace I was reminded that their desire for other is not their method of punishing me. As a matter of fact, they have far more memories of things we did together than of times I said not today, just wait, or no.

They are not living their increasingly independent-of-me lives, as a punishment for my frailties. As a matter of fact, they are growing increasingly independent because they have had space to grow, to make their own mistakes, to experience their own successes, and then to share their stories with me … even if my ears are not always ready to hear them.

Moms, lets:

look forward

hear words as they are spoken (not as we imagine them)

receive their stories as a loving, healing balm to heal our momma guilt

love them,

imperfectly, but sincerely, love them.

 

 

 

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I sat in my morning chair, enjoying that the time change again allows me to soak in the visual beauty of the deep orange leaves on my neighbor’s tree. This, our eleventh autumn living in this house, was the first that I had ever noticed this tree. My eyes glanced back to my device with the red-lettered ‘wind warning’.

An hour later, with phone in hand I stepped outside to take a picture of that eye-catching tree, knowing that that day would be the last day of morning beauty for my eyes.

Throughout the day, whenever I looked outside and saw the trees swaying, I envisioned orange leaves being battered from the tree and to the ground below.

When I returned home that evening, I was preoccupied with preparing dinner, policing the completion of homework, and preparing again for the next day to come.

The following day, I grabbed my coffee, and headed to my chair, with regret for the loss of my beautiful view.

What I saw surprised me, as the tree looked just as it had the previous morning. I was so surprised I even got our my phone to compare the before photo to the exact replica before my eyes.

I sat in delightful surprise, in awe of, not only the beauty, but the resilience in front of me. Despite gale winds, the tree held her beauty. The wind may indeed have battered her, but somehow she held on.

As I looked, in awe and wonder, I was reminded of Hebrews 10:23,

“Let us hold tightly without wavering
to the hope we affirm,
for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
Hebrews 10:23

We all have seasons when we are battered by the winds, some of them gale force winds, of life.

when families struggle to love each other.

when jobs do not fulfill us, or are lost due to cut backs.

when marriage is not smooth, or is ended.

when our health is failing, or our life is.

when we have to live with hurt, betrayal, disobedience, illness, worry, change, death,

and anything else that is battering our souls.

But, if we hold tightly, without wavering, to the hope that is Christ, He will not let us fall. We might get blown around, like those orange leaves on the tree, but we just need to hold on, to the One who can be trusted.

 

 

 

 

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My favorite place to go is Cannon Beach, Oregon.

IMG_1555.JPGIt is, for me, the happiest place on Earth … and there isn’t an animated mouse in sight (except, maybe, at Bruce’s Candy Shop). I cannot walk on that beach without a smile breaking out across my face, and tensions rolling off hubby’s shoulders.

It is where I have studied God’s Word the deepest. heard the most profound, yet human Bible scholars. prayed the most sincerely. joined in collective worship, in song, with a room full of people who participate together.

When we turn off the highway, and into the town, where we live but a week of the summer, our kids wave and call out to friends on the streets, even before our wheels have stopped. We have met friends with whom a year apart is as if days, for myself, my hubby, my kids. Friendships that have stretched across the continent, into our homes, and through social media on a daily basis.

It is the place that I have laughed the heartiest.IMG_1554.JPG

I never have to make meals, or make the bed. We are greater at mealtime by friendly smiles, and gentle leading to meet someone new. We have memories of candlelit dinners, and I have eaten pounds of bacon (without having to cook it myself, and smell like smoked Wilbur).

It is where we have watched our children play with freedom and abandon. stretched curfews into late in the night. giggled with my girl in the shops. shared s’mores with my son. snapped dozens of pic of my girl chasing the gulls from their beach breakfast feast,

I have loved and been loved.

Despite the many clicks of scenery photographed, I have come to understood that no device can duplicate what my wondering eyes did appear.

I have started my day with starfish, anemones, crabs, barnacles and other ocean life. I have ended my days over hot coffee, s’mores on the beach, with crowds, with my kids, with my guy, with my God.

I have sat alone on the sand bar sIMG_1558.JPGinging praises, thanks, laments. The salt of my tears of joy and sorrow have mixed with that of the ocean.

I have walked miles of sandy beach … in the warmth of the sun, the damp of the rain, the wind, the cold. I have had weeks where I trekked the beach to Haystack twice a day, and a year when I could not physically walk more than half way there … once during our week there. I have shared that trek with darling ladies, dear couples, our kids, my guy, on my own.

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I have …

fully, deeply, cleanly,

breathed.

And I am so thankful that my guy and I got to share a few days in that most happy place on Earth.

I returned home, yesterday, with sand in my shoes, color on my cheeks, a smile on my face, thanks in my heart, and a desire to go back to that rock in the sand and surf.

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“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
Robert Laurence Binyon

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I grew up in a time which remembered sacrifice, on this day. I grew up in a place that understood peace keeping, as every high school graduating class included students who were to pursue that as their future profession. I have lived in our nations capital, of Ottawa, where the images of sacrifice were all around, and where every school, church and neighborhood had members of Canada’s peace keeping military.

This year, this Remembrance Day, social media has provided visual symbols of remembrance with relevance for today.

IMG_1547.JPGMy favorite image is the one to the left. A visual response by artist, Bruce MacKinnon (The Halifax Chronicle Herald), after the October 22, 2014 killing of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, while standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. Although I have not seen any similar images, honoring Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was run down, while wearing uniform, in Quebec, I believe that MacKinnon’s image will bring both, and their grieving families, to the minds of all who see it.

We will remember them …

IMG_1541.JPGThe haunting words of John McCrae, and his poem “In Flander’s Fields.” The image of the poppy, representing the continuance of life, after those whose blood was spilled, fighting a foe we are encouraged to continue battling (“take up our quarrel with the foe … if ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep”). We must battle for peace, in word and, if necessary, in deed. Those, who McCrae wrote of, had to battle in deed.

We will remember them …

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The Tower of London, bathed in 888,246 ceramic blooms, each representing a lost life in World War I … 100 years ago, when that war began. This work of art is called “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.”

We will remember them …

IMG_1540.JPGNovember 11, every year, we have opportunity to remember those who gave their lives, those whose lives were forever changed. Attending a service of Remembrance, watching one on the television or online … taking a moment to be silent, and remember. These are opportunities to honor, not war, but the privilege of living in peace, at the expense of others who have gone before us.

We will remember them …

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Our six years of living in Ottawa acquainted me with the honor no mother ever wants, that of being awarded the Silver Cross. This ‘award’ is given to Canadian mothers who have lost a son or daughter in service to this country. The National Silver Cross mother has been chosen to lay a wreath during Canada’s Remembrance Day ceremony, in Ottawa, as a representative of all mothers who have lost a child in service. This year, Gisèle Michaud, whose son. Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud, was wounded after stepping on an explosive device, in June, 2009, in Afghanistan, is Canada’s Silver Cross Mom.

We will remember them …

IMG_1546.JPGThe image above, of people atop a bank, overlooking a beach, with the image of the soldiers who fought for that beach, for the freedom of going to the beach, has caught my attention this year. I could not find the name of the artist, or of the specific place or story it depicts. Could it be Normany? Dieppe? Does it matter? What is important is that we remember that the freedom we have has been bought by a high cost.

We will remember them …

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To be successful would seem to be a goal (overtly or not) with all who are within the bounds of humanity.

According to freedictionary.com,

success is:

“achievement of something desired, planned or attempted.”

Who wouldn’t want for such things? To not desire achievement would be to live an apathetic life.

We are encouraged to fight, strive, conquer, overcome, use people, take, and spend time with those who do the same.

Recently I was struck by the dichotomy of what the world says is successful living, and what Jesus says is successful living. Like almost everything else that came from the lips of the Son of God, what He says of being a successful person is up-side-down teaching, compared with what our human expectation would be.

“The world says, follow the right people and be a success.
And Jesus says follow me and be crucified — and this is success.
The world says, follow the right people and be a success.
And Jesus says follow me and be crucified — and this is success.
The world says get rich now — or at least very soon.
And Jesus says give it away now — because “soon” might be too late.
The world says you find your best life when you spend it all.
And Jesus says whoever loses his life for me will find it — and if you try to save your life, you’ll lose it.”
Ann Voskamp

Reading what Jesus says of success means feeling that tightening in our throats. For success is not ours, through our goodness, our education, our climb up the occupational ladder. It is His, through His grace, and our … obedience.

Success may indeed sit in boardrooms, locker rooms and concert halls, but it also sits in prison cells, in senior’s care facilities, in homeless shelters and in ‘average’ homes.

May we all struck often by how the ultimate example of success lived his life.

“Whoever wants to save his life will definitely lose it.”
Mark 8:35

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We needed divine intervention, something unique and peaceful to quiet my favorite pair of students.

The constant, monsoon rains had created something akin to a state of stir crazy for this pair, and more academics was not the medicine for their (or my) ill. I opted for a rarely used, but very effective, prescription … a story and drawing.

I went to a book that I knew to be ‘safe’ on the library shelf, The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett. A smaller copy has graced the shelves of my own bookcase, and many of it’s tales have been read to, and by, my own kids. The book contains stories, fables, poetry and the like, all focused on teaching a moral. Over the years, I have found that many students, and especially those with special needs are often far more understanding of such stories, that ones told simply for the purpose of entertainment.

The following is the story I read. Credit for the writing of the story was given to Chuck Colson, but it is a true story … it is a redemption story.

As you read this true story, may your heart and mind be as stilled, and inspired as my stir crazed pair that day as we experienced the divine inspiration from one who truly lived fully.

“Maximilian Kolbe was forty-five years old in the early autumn of 1939 when the Nazis invaded his homeland. He was a Polish friar in Niepokalanow, a village near Warsaw. There, 762 priests and lay brothers lived in the largest friary in the world. Father Kolbe presided over Niepokalanow with a combination of industry, joy, love, and humor that made him beloved by the plainspoken brethren there.

In his simple room, he sat each morning at a pigeonhole desk, a large globe before him, praying over the world. He did so, tortured by the fact that a pale man with arresting blue eyes and a terrifying power of manipulation had whipped the people of Germany into a frenzy. Whole nations had already fallen to the evil Adolf Hitler and his Nazis.

“An atrocious conflict is brewing,” Father Kolbe told a group of friars one day after he had finished prayers. “We do not know what will develop. In our beloved Poland, we must expect the worst.” Father Kolbe was right. His country was next.

On September 1, 1939, the Nazi blitzkrieg broke over Poland. After several weeks, a group of Germans arrived at Niepokalanow on motorcycles and arrested Father Kolbe and all but two of his friars who had remained behind. They were loaded on trucks, then into livestock wagons, and two days later arrived at Amtitz, a prison camp.

Conditions were horrible, but nor horrific. Prisoners were hungry, but no one died of starvation. Strangely, within a few weeks the brothers were released from prison. Back at the friary, they found the buildings vandalized and the Nazis in control, using the facility as a deportation camp for political prisoners, refugees, and Jews.

The situation was an opportunity for ministry, and Father Kolbe took advantage of it, helping the sick and comforting the fearful.

While Kolbe and the friars used their time to serve others, the Nazis used theirs to decide just how to impose their will on the rest of Europe. To Adolf Hitler, the Jews and Slavic people were the Untermenschen (sub humans). Their cultures and cities were to be erased and their industry appropriated for Germany. On October 2, Hitler outlined a secret memorandum to Hans Frank, the governor general of Poland. In a few phrases he determined the grim outcome for millions: “The ordinary Poles are especially born for low labor. The Polish gentry must cease to exist. All representatives of one master for the Poles, the German.”

As for Poland’s hundreds of thousands of priests?

“They will preach what we want them to preach,” said Hitler’s memo. “If any priest acts differently, we will make short work of him. The task of the priest is to keep the Poles quiet, stupid, and dull-witted.”

Maximilian Kolbe was clearly a priest who “acted differently,” from the Nazis’ designs.

In early February 1941, the Polish underground smuggled word to Kolbe that his name was on a Gestapo list: he was about to be arrested. Kolbe knew what happened to loved ones of those who tried to elude the Nazis’ grasp: their friends and colleagues were taken instead. He had no wife or children; his church was his family. And he could not risk the loss of any of his brothers in Christ. So he stayed at Niepokalanow.

At nine o’clock on the morning of February 17, Father Kolbe was sitting at his pigeonhole desk, his eyes and prayers on the globe before him, when he heard the sound of heavy vehicles outside the thick panes of his green-painted windows. He knew it was the Nazis, but he remained at his desk. He would wait for them to come to him.

After being held in Nazi prisons for several months, Father Kolbe was found guilty of the crime of publishing unapproved materials and sentenced to Auschwitz. Upon his arrival at the camp in May 1941, an SS officer informed him that the life expectancy of priests there was about a month. Kolbe was assigned to the timber detail; he was to carry felled tree trunks from one place to another. Guards stood by to ensure that the exhausted prisoners did so at a quick trot.

Years of slim rations and overwork at Niepokalanow had already weakened Kolbe. Now, under the load of wood, he staggered and collapsed. Officers converged on him, kicking him with their shiny leather boots and beating him with their whips. He was stretched out on a pile of wood, dealt fifty lashes, then shoved into a ditch, covered with branches, and left for dead.

Later, having been picked up by some brave prisoners, he awoke in a camp hospital bed alongside several other near-dead inmates. There, miraculously, he revived.

“No need to waste gas or a bullet on that one,” chuckled one SS officer to another. “He’ll be dead soon.”

Kolbe was switched to other work and transferred to Barracks 14, where he continued to minister to his fellow prisoners, so tortured by hunger they could not sleep.

By the end of July 1941, Auschwitz was working like a well-organized killing machine, and the Nazis congratulated themselves on their efficiency. The camp’s five chimneys never stopped smoking. The stench was terrible, the the results were excellent: eight thousand Jews could be stripped, their possessions appropriated for the Reich, gassed, and cremated – all in twenty-four hours. Every twenty-four hours.

About the only problem was the occasional prisoner from the work side of the camp who would figure out a way to escape. When these escapees were caught, as they usually were, they would be hanged with special nooses that slowly choked out their miserable lives – a grave warning to others who might be tempted to try.

Then one July night as the frogs and insects in the marshy land surrounding the camp began their evening chorus, the air was suddenly filled with the baying of dogs, the curses of soldiers, and the roar of motorcycles. A man had escaped from Barracks 14.

The next morning there was a peculiar tension as the ranks of phantom-thin prisoners lined up for morning roll call in the central square, their eyes on the large gallows before them. But there was no condemned man standing there, his hands bound behind him, his face bloodied from blows and dog bites. That meant the prisoner had made it out of Auschwitz. And that meant death from some of those who remained.

After the roll call, Camp Commandant Fritsch ordered the dismissal of all but Barracks 14. While the rest of the camp went about its duties, the prisoners from Barracks 14 stood motionless in line. They waited. Hours passed. The summer sun beat down. Some fainted and were dragged away. Some swayed in place but held on; those the SS officers beat with the butts of their guns. Father Kolbe, by some miracle, stayed on his feet, his posture as straight as his resolve.

By evening roll call the commandant was ready to levy sentence. The other prisoners had returned from their day of slave labor; now he could make a lesson out of the fate of this miserable barracks.

Fritsch began to speak, the veins in his thick neck standing out with rage. “The fugitive has not been found,” he screamed. “Ten of you will die for him in the starvation bunker. Next time, twenty will be condemned.”

The rows of exhausted prisoners began to sway as they heard the sentence. The guards let them; terror was part of their punishment.

The starvation bunker! Anything was better – death on the gallows, a bullet in the head at the Wall of Death, or even the gas in the chambers. All those were quick, even humane, compared to Nazi starvation, for they denied you water as well as food.

The prisoners had heard the stories from the starvation bunker in the basement of Barracks 11. They said the condemned didn’t even look like human beings after a day or two. They frightened even the guards. Their throats turned to paper, their brains turned to fire, their intestines dried up and shriveled like desiccated worms.

Commandant Fritsch walked the rows of prisoners. When he stopped before a man, he would command in bad Polish, “Open your mouth! Put out your tongue! Show your teeth!” And so he went, choosing victims like horses.

His dreary assistant, Palitsch, followed behind. As Fritsch chose a man, Palitsch noted the number stamped on the prisoner’s filthy shirt. The Nazis, as always, were methodical. Soon there were ten men – ten numbers neatly listed on the death roll. The chosen groaned, sweating with fear. “My poor wife!” one man cried. “My poor children! What will they do?”

“Take off your shoes!” the commandant barked at the ten men. This was one of his rituals; they must march to their deaths barefoot. A pile of twenty wooden clogs made a small heap at the front of the grassy square.

Suddenly there was a commotion in the ranks. A prisoner had broken out of line, calling for the commandant. It was unheard of to leave the ranks, let alone address a Nazi office; it was cause for execution.

Fritsch had his hand on his revolver, as did the officers behind him. But he broke precedent. Instead of shooting the prisoner, he shouted at him.

“Halt! What does this Polish pig want of me?”

The prisoners gasped. It was their beloved Father Kolbe, the priest who shared his last crust, who comforted the dying and nourished their souls. Not Father Kolbe! The frail priest spoke softly, even calmly, to the Nazi butcher. “I would like to die in place of one of the men you condemned.”

Fritsch stared at the prisoner, No. 16670. He never considered them as individuals; they were just a gray blur. But he looked now. No. 16670 didn’t appear to be insane.

“Why?” snapped the commandant.

Father Kolbe sensed the need for exacting diplomacy. The Nazis never reversed an order; so he must not seem to be asking him to do so. Kolbe knew the Nazi dictum of destruction: the weak and the elderly first. He would play on this well-ingrained principle.

“I am an old man, sir, and good for nothing. My life will serve no purpose.”

His ploy triggered the response Kolbe wanted. “In whose place do you want to die?” asked Fritsch.

“For that one,” Kolbe responded, pointing to the weeping prisoner who had bemoaned his wife and children.

Fritsch glanced at the weeping prisoner. He did look stronger than this tattered No. 16670 before him.

For the first and last time, the commandant looked Kolbe in the eye. “Who are you?” he asked.

The prisoner looked back at him, a strange fire in his dark eyes. “I am a priest.”

“Ein Pfaffe!” the commandant snorted. He looked at his assistant and nodded. Palitsch drew a line through No. 5659 and wrote down No. 16670. Kolbe’s place on the death ledger was set.

Father Kolbe bent down to take off his clogs, then joined the group to be marched to Barracks 11. As he did so, No. 5659 passed by him at a distance – and on the man’s face was an expression so astonished that it had not yet become gratitude.

But Kolbe wasn’t looking for gratitude. If he was to lay down his life for another, the fulfillment had to be in the act of obedience itself. The joy must be found in submitting his small will to the will of One more grand.

As the condemned men entered Barracks 11, guards roughly pushed them down the stairs to the basement.

“Remove your clothes!” shouted an officer. Christ died on the cross naked, Father Kolbe thought as he took off his pants and thin shirt. It is fitting that I suffer as He suffered.

In the basement the ten men were herded into a dark, windowless cell.

“You will dry up like tulips,” sneered one jailer. Then he swung the heavy door shut.

As the hours and days passed, however, the camp became aware of something extraordinary happening in the death cell. Past prisoners had spent their dying days howling, attacking one anther, clawing the walls in a frenzy of despair.

But now, coming from the death box, those outside heard the faint sounds of singing. For this time the prisoners had a shepherd to gently lead them through the shadows of the valley of death, pointing them to the Great Shepherd. And perhaps for that reason Father Kolbe was the last to die.

On August 14, 1941, there were four prisoners still alive in the bunker, and it was needed for new occupants. A German doctor named Boch descended the steps of Barracks 11, four syringes in his hand. Several SS troopers and a prisoner named Brono Borgowiec (who survived Auschwitz) were with him – the former to observe and the latter to carry out the bodies.

When they swung the bunker door open, there, in the light of their flashlight, they saw Father Maximilian Kolbe, a living skeleton, propped against one wall. His head was inclined a bit to the left. He had the ghost of a smile on his lips and his eyes wide open, fixed on some faraway vision. He did not move.

The other three prisoners were on the floor, unconscious but alive. The doctor took care of them first, a jab of the needle into the bony left arm, the push of the piston in the syringe. It seemed a waste of the drug, but he had his orders. Then he approached No. 16670 and repeated the action.

In a moment, Father Kolbe was dead.”

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A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

FisherofMen

Giving a unique view and input on information to help individuals establish a concrete perspective on terms, words, topics and the world around them.

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Frijdom

encouraging space to think deeply

Life- All over the map

A family journey through childhood cancer and around the world

A L!fe Lived

seeking the full life that only Jesus offers

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

The Mustard Seed Kingdom

A Blog of the Evangelical Anabaptist Partners