Five Minutes on Friday #7


Before the Nazis implemented their plan to exterminate the Jewish people, they advertised their intentions through a number of public spectacles.  The most dramatic occurred on the night of November 9, 1938, when Nazi troops throughout Germany assaulted a terrible a attack on Jewish homes and businesses.  One hundred and ninety-one synagogues were burned to the ground.  Seventy-five hundred Jewish owned businesses were destroyed.  Some 20,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent off to Buchenwald concentration camp where they would later be executed.

Burnt out synagogue at Essen, Germany.

There was little criticism or protest in Germany in the days that followed.  Archives discovered after the war indicate that at a meeting of top Nazi officials after this event, the leaders considered the night a tremendous success.   [story in All Saints by Robert Ellsberg].


Fifth-century monk Nilus of Ancyra wrote:  ‘We should remain within the limits imposed by our basic needs and strive with all our power not to exceed them.  For once we are carried a little beyond these limits in our desire for the pleasures of life, there is no criterion by which to check our outward movement, since no bounds can be set to that which exceeds the necessary.’ 

Wise words for the negotiators at COP26, and for the church.


Last Saturday, Claire and I visited the Van Gogh exhibit here in Saskatoon.  It was amazing. 

You walk into a large room where Van Gogh’s images, set to music flash on the floor and walls in a continuous loop.  The details of colour and brushstroke are vividly displayed.  The technique of multi-projection and immersive audio add emotional depth to the images.  You feel the creative energy of the artist.

In her wonderful book Henry and Vincent: A portrait of the compassionate life, Carol Berry quotes Henri Nowen on Van Gogh:

        Vincent was a seer who saw and wanted us to see with him…His sun-covered landscapes and glowing wheat-fields…radiant people, sowers and reapers all spoke their own wordless language.  In the midst of darkness Vincent saw light.  In the midst of ugliness, he saw beauty.  In the midst of pain and suffering he saw the nobility of the human heart.  He saw it, and he burned with desire to make others see it.’   (p.88).

Blessings for the week ahead.