Thought for the Week: Holocaust Memorial Day

Bible reading:
“If all the parts [of the body] were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body. The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without.” (1 Corinthians 12:19-22)

Holocaust Memorial Day seems to come around so quickly each year! It got me reflecting how as individuals we don’t much spend time commemorating our worst events annually, yet as communities we very deliberately make time to do so. Maybe it’s because our collective memory isn’t very good, or maybe it’s because we need to be reminded that we are all connected. I suppose in today’s society it very easy to exist as an individual and effectively see yourself as removed from the whole, you can focus on your issues, learn from your mistakes, celebrate your successes etc. The issue is that this way of being doesn’t remove the existence of a ‘communal mind’ at work in society and actually by absenting ourselves from it we clear the floor for more fundamentalist ideologies to grow and take root. This ‘communal mind’ is kept healthy by maintaining diversity where debate, dialogue and challenge exist, but it stagnates and becomes toxic when diversity is replaced by uniformity. We are not all meant to agree, we are meant to disagree well and provide balance. We have a responsibility to be ‘Us’ rather than ‘I’.

God of all people, forgive us for the ways in which we have been involved in creating division and seeing ourselves as superior to others – we are all you beloved children. As we reflect on the horrors of the holocaust this week may we become more wary of propaganda that excludes or vilifies some and not others. We pray that we would all choose unity over division and prevent this evil taking place again. Empower us in our roles as educators to promote understanding and peace, in Jesus name we ask. Amen.

National Church of England Academy