One thing I have wanted to do every year but somehow always end up not doing is riding in the vintage vehicles. Next year it’s happening. This year certain companions of mine who will remain nameless got sidetracked by food.
In the aftermath of WWI, the German people were suffering humiliation and defeat, under the Treaty of Versailles they had been forced to surrender large amounts of German land and pay massive reparations to their enemies. Their economy and moral had crashed when Adolf Hitler entered the scene as a gifted political candidate in early 1930. He promised to rebuild their economy, strengthen their military that had been depleted under the Treaty of Versailles, to defeat communism and reclaim their lost land.
Desperate for hope, for a “savior” many accepted him ignoring his criminal record, revolutionary social philosophy and aspirations to become a dictator. By 1934 Hitler and his Nazi party had complete control over Germany and it’s people. The hope they thought they had found became a nightmare as He marched them against neighboring countries and eradicating “undesirables” (Jew’s, Gypsies, Communists, Marxists, Jehovah’s Witness, Pols and Salvs, those of African descent, the physically or mentally disabled, Homosexuals, Political Dissidents, and Dissenting Clergy) in their own towns.
In their search for identity, security, and hope they turned to a man instead of God. Churches set aside the bible as their moral compass for right and wrong. It was no longer seen as the absolute moral standard to live by, instead, popular opinion took its place. While some became devoted members of the Nazi and others resisted their ideas of racial superiority, might-makes-right and ethnic purging like the reformed Dutch in the Netherlands that protected Jews and sabotaged German war efforts. Still, others remained silent either too uncertain or too afraid to fight back. What should have been opposed while it was just an idea was left to fester until it was too late.
Human saviors like Hitler and many others can never give us real security, identity or the purpose we so desperately seek. They can’t save us from the pain or evil in the world around us or in our own hearts. They can only lead us into more darkness, as we put our hope in the wrong thing. It’s easy to cast blame on these people that followed both willingly and silently, but how often in our daily lives do we put our hope in the wrong things? How often do we try to fill the void in our hearts and lives with man-made things instead of the one true savior, Jesus Christ?
Hate and fear can only lead to more hurt, but He calls us to love our neighbor. Instead of demanding we come to Him, He meets us right where we are in the midst of the everyday mess.
Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to be obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God… who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. Where are these responsible people? ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ( pastor and anti-Nazi dissident)
It’s so important to remember history. To learn from the mistakes and triumphs of others. Yes, there are dark places, places we’d rather forget. But to stop remembering spits on the sacrifice of so many who endured and lost there lives to ideologies and men like Hitler and the Nazi party.
Freedom isn’t free, in fact, it’s the most costly gift that can be given. It requires, time and energy, it must be tended and fed, and sometimes its price must be paid in blood. It requires calling evil by its name and stretching our hand out to our neighbors.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
They absolutely outdid themselves this year on their battle reenactment! You found yourself holding your breath as the tanks rolled down the street, as the smoke drifted over the once serene street. Your chest rumbled with each explosion as soldiers poured up the street, scrambling from cover to cover and medics race to remove the wounded.