Recently we went to a production of a musical I had wanted to see for a number of years. In many ways I’m glad we saw it where we did–it made it much more real.
The show was Cabaret–and the place we saw it was a Jewish community center…which has armed police at the entrance every show because a few years ago, someone decided he was going to try to kill Jews. He ended up killing and wounding several people–only one of whom was Jewish.
So to see a show which takes place in 1931 Germany under those circumstances made it a powerful evening.
But it was powerful in other ways as well. There is a scene where Herr Ludwig–right after we have discovered he is a Nazi–becomes angry when he discovers that Herr Schultz is Jewish. He is adamant that Schultz is not a German.
And Herr Schultz’s innocent naiveté…that nothing will happen because he knows these Germans–because he is one…is so saddening because we know that his German birth and ancestry will end up meaning nothing.
As I watched the show, I was reminded that we seem to find so many ways to divide ourselves from each other–and yet, under the skin we are one. We all bleed the same color blood. We all want better lives for our children and grandchildren. We all have hopes and fears. We all understand that there is something more powerful than we can understand that has created (and continues to create) this world we live in–regardless of how we identify it.
And yet… There are so many names we call each other. Names that dehumanize and demonize each other. Names that make it possible for us to decide that it’s okay to discriminate against a specific group of people because they are somehow less than our own group.
And I’m tired. I know there are problems that need to be fixed. I know there are policies that need to be developed and changed.
But I’m tired.
I’m especially tired of hearing those words…those dehumanizing, demonizing, separating names…come out of the mouths of those who say they are followers of Jesus. Jesus, who crossed all kinds of barriers…who saw all people as valued brothers and sisters.
All major religions have as a priority some statement that calls us to treat each other as we ourselves want to be treated…an acknowledgment that under the skin we are one. What will it take for us to start living that way?