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Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost – November 11, 2018
This past week witnessed two important historical anniversaries. One is what we celebrate today: the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, whose military and civilian dead and wounded totaled nearly 40 million. From 1918 until 1954, November 11 was known as Armistice Day and it marked the end of major hostilities in World War I. In 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all veterans of our armed forces.
The second major anniversary of the last week was the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, which occurred on November 9 and 10 of 1938. Kristallnacht was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany carried out by paramilitary forces and German civilians. The name Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, hospitals, buildings, and synagogues were ransacked and smashed with sledgehammers. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were either destroyed or damaged. Additionally, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. It was the pogrom that was, in many ways, the beginning of the Holocaust.
Friends, I believe that these milestones serve as an invitation for us to make the important distinction that Jesus makes in our reading this morning from Mark, the distinction between attaching ourselves to symbols and committing ourselves to all the ideals those symbols represent.
In this morning’s text, Jesus has recently entered Jerusalem to be crucified, which means in the chronology of things, Palm Sunday has happened and Jesus is waiting for Good Friday. He is teaching in the Temple, and Mark tells us this in Chapter 12, verses 38-44. Let us listen together for the word of God.