Do YOU believe JESUS has RISEN?




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Andy writes this month.....

Recently I visited the Holocaust Centre near Newark for the first time.    It was as you might imagine a sobering experience. The extermination of six million souls can hardly be anything else. But the Centre sets out to do far more than simply tell the story of Hitler’s genocide. It highlights the development of anti-Semitic attitudes through the ages but also acknowledges those who recognized it for the evil it is and acted against it.

The ‘Kindertransport’ (the rescue of Jewish children from Germany Austria Poland and Czechoslovakia) was one such initiative that saved many hundreds of children’s lives and took place during the nine months immediately before the outbreak of World War II until the Nazis closed the Dutch border and brought it to an end. One of those involved was Nicholas Winton a British stockbroker who had planned to go to Switzerland on a skiing holiday towards the end of 1938. He changed his plans at the last minute to visit a friend in Prague who was working with Jewish refugees and this experience inspired him to set up an escape route through which almost seven hundred children were rescued from almost certain death in the concentration camps of the Third Reich and found foster homes in Britain.

The Holocaust Centre was founded by two brothers Drs Stephen and James Smith but they haven’t concentrated only on that one horrifying event; both are now very active in working to prevent genocide through a charity called the Aegis Trust saving people from it and helping survivors to rebuild their lives. Winton and the Smith brothers are just three of a large number of men and women who in some cases have risked their personal safety and dedicated their own resources to act against evil and save people from its consequences.

As we approach Easter this description will resonate with those who are aware of the events of Good Friday. At one level the rescue of humanity from the fallout of its own inability to ‘love its neighbour as itself’ is a noble mission in which every aid worker charity donor and peace campaigner plays a part whether or not they profess a faith. But it is an altogether different concept – and a mind-blowing one – that Jesus gave his earthly life so that we could share his eternal life and in doing so wiped out the lasting consequences of the sin which would have made that impossible.

Although paying a price to save others is hardly an adequate way to represent the death of Jesus on the cross it does give us a starting point to understand why the first Easter happened.

The Holocaust Centre is called ‘Beth Shalom’ – the ‘house of wholeness and peace’. I pray that this Easter may bring peace and wholeness to your house.

        Andy Burrows

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