February 7, 2019
“And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” -Matthew 22:35-40
In all four of the gospels, Jesus teaches, in various ways, the great commandment. We are to love God and love our neighbors. There are many things in our faith that we debate, but it is our obligation to love without question. It may not always be easy to love God and neighbor, but love is the definitive nature of God and we are created in God’s very image.
In 1943, Copenhagen, Denmark was under Nazi occupation. The Germans were planning a surprise, mass round-up of the Jewish population of Copenhagen. The plan was to send the Danish Jews to concentration camps. This surprise roundup would have undoubtedly led to the death of thousands of Jews. The Jewish population was in serious trouble. Thankfully, one brave man considered the people of Copenhagen, all of the people of Copenhagen, to be his neighbors.
Just a few days before the round-up was to take place George Duckwitz, a German Navel attaché, warned his friend Hans Hedtoft of the trouble that was to come. Hans warned the local Jewish population to hide and to leave. This small brave act by George Duckwitz led to a miracle.
When the Nazis began their search of homes they only found about 300 of the people they were looking for. Over 7000 Jews were hidden in homes, hospitals, and churches. Eventually they were brought out of hiding and taken by the Danish resistance to the coast where they were ferried by Danish fishermen, in the middle of the night, to neighboring Switzerland.
The Jewish refugees lived in Sweden for just over 19 months, until the allies liberated Denmark. When they returned to Copenhagen they found their homes, their businesses and their belongings secured. Their neighbors had cared for their possessions as if they were their own.
This was possible because people understood the greatest of the commandments. Love God and love your neighbor. We are called to care for one another. When we fulfill the commandment of love, we see life flourish and miracles happen.
-Rev. Keith King, Online Campus Pastor