White rose

What is one flower in a forest? I have just been reading Eoin Dempsey’s White Rose Black Forest, about a young woman who becomes involved in resistance to Hitler and the Nazis in World War Two. 

She accuses herself of abandoning her handicapped brother (who was liquidated by the regime because he was “useless”) and her friends in the resistance (called The White Rose). But then, just when she is gripped with suicidal intentions, she is brought face to face with a wounded man who is on a mission to wrest nuclear technology from the Nazis before they realise its potential.

It is a gripping story and is inspired by true events.  There really was a group of students at the University of Munich, among them the siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, who, appalled at the crimes the Nazi government was committing in the people’s name, decided to protest and formed a secret group called ‘The White Rose’.  They printed and circulated leaflets calling on people to wake up to what was happening and resist.  They managed to print and distribute six short hard hitting leaflets before they were caught and, after a show trial, guillotined.

It makes me tremble to think of the courage of those young people. They knew the risk and were prepared to die. Even as they were condemned they continued to try to impress on their captors the folly of supporting Hitler.  They were a tiny protest movement against a seemingly unstoppable surge of Nazi power. They were simply one pure rose in a dark forest of fear, lies and hatred.

Today we may be inclined to think such darkness is no longer possible.  The world has moved on.  Human rights are enshrined in a universal charter.  The horrors fanatics still manage to perpetrate have minimal support.  The days when rulers can manipulate their people through twisted ideologies are over. Well, as soon as we say this, we know this is far from true.  Those in every citadel of power still have the means of moulding society in their own image.

We are still in the struggle between the lust for power and the desire for justice. The terrifying thing is that we are often not aware of what is being done in our name. Our senses are not sharp and we dream on, immunising ourselves from the grinding poverty of so many people in our societies.  When Jesus tried to confront the injustice of his time his opponents said he was possessed and his relations thought he was “out of his mind”.  Jesus was the one man, witnessing to the truth in the surrounding darkness. He too was killed after a show trial.. The struggle continues.  We all have a part in it.  And Jesus, the Lord, is in it with us.

10 June 2018                                                        Sunday 10 B

Genesis 3:9-15                                                     2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1                                       Mark 3:20-35

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