Stand up…

…for what you believe in.

Yesterday I had other blog themes on the brain, but it was a very important day of remembrance in Dresden, Germany. On February 13th, 1945, the heart of Dresden was destroyed by Allied Forces.  You can read about it here, because I have neither the qualification nor the heart for recounting it in my blog. It’s a sad story, but one that I am glad to have read and had recounted to me as a reminder of what war does to humankind. Not just to soldiers abroad, but to average families who find the enemy at their front door.

"Nazis, No Thank You"

I find it fitting, though, that the infamous February 13th…a day full of sadness and hate…is followed by the beloved February 14th…a day of love and hope. Today on Valentine’s Day I saw some pictures from Joel, our H.I.M. worker from the demonstrations downtown and it made me think of some verses from Romans 12. You see, in Dresden, the Germans don’t simply remember their fellow countrymen who passed away on that horrible night.

They also stand up for love and tolerance against Nazi protesters who choose the day of February 13th to make their own demonstration and who, for years, have made it not only a day of remembrance but a day of political turmoil. Last February 13th in 2010 was an important day in this regard as Dresdeners formed a peaceful human blockade to stop the largest Neo-Nazi march in the post-war era.

Human Chain against neo-Nazis

Romans 12:9

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

They were standing up for love and hating evil. I love this phrase “stand up.” It implies doing something. Obviously, you can’t stand up to something when you’re sitting down. You have to get in the way and show your sincerity by saying with your physical presence, “this is not okay with me.”

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

I love that the Menschenkette (human chain) formed of 17,000 people yesterday to symbolize blocking out the neo-Nazis was a peaceful event. We should hate what is evil, but leave justice and vengeance to God, as Paul goes on to describe later in chapter 12. Our job is to actively stand up for love in as peaceful a way as possible.

Human Chain of 17,000 in Dresden 2011

That is why I’m so proud of my German friends and friends of other nationalities who have gone downtown to say “I stand for love.” Though I, as a Generation X American cannot fully comprehend what this emotionally- and politically-charged day means to my fellow Dresdeners, I have still learned so much from their example and I rejoice in the fact that after spending 10 years in Dresden, each February 14th, the “day of love,” holds new meaning and hope because of what I witness each February 13th.

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4 responses to “Stand up…”

  1. Opa says :

    So beautifully stated, my dear daughter. Germans are a proud, wonderful people. I hope everyone realises these Nazi idiot are an extreme minority. Unfortunately, all nations still have similar groups, including the USA. We pray that they will wither away soon.

  2. Courtney Cantrell says :

    Bri, thank you for sharing this. I’ve purposely stayed away from news reports of what happened last week, because it just tears my heart to shreds — in good ways and bad. It’s easier to hear about events in my “homeland” from friends with good hearts, instead of from the news media spin doctors.

  3. Bri says :

    Well, Courtney, I’m the same way when I’m hearing things about the US from over here. No matter how objective people from afar try to paint the picture, the fact is, they are not part of the culture and therefore miss much of the story and many of the undercurrents. I’m saying this about both cultures backwards and forwards🙂
    After this blog post we had this last weekend another Nazi march which was NOT peacefully protested, but it was because of left-wing extremists who did not follow the previous example of the residents of Dresden mentioned in the post above. This world has a long way to go.

    • Courtney Cantrell says :

      Yeah, that gap-filled reporting is definitely part of every culture. The proverbial grains of salt should always stay within easy reach. 😉

      And Ed watched a video of the violent demonstration this past weekend. I didn’t watch, but I heard it, and he read aloud part of the article that went with it. It just blows my mind that the left-wing extremists so completely disregard reality and history. I told Ed I’m thankful we aren’t there right now, because I would be sorely tempted to go stand with those standing against the Neo-Nazis. It might be a stupid move — but the whole subject touches the heart of the German in me.

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