At times I entertain myself reading Junior Fiction, quick stories told on a simple level about life with specific themes. Number the Stars is the book one Fifth Grade class is reading this year. I decided to read it, too. As the cover reads, “Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think about life before the war. But it’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching in their town.” There is nothing I know less about than that era in Copenhagen so I found the story interesting.
Copyrighted in 1989 by Lois Lowry it is a great quick story. This book also won a John Newberry Yearling medal. The author researched part of the book reading of the Resistance leaders in Denmark. She came across an account of a young man named Kim Malthe-Brunn, eventually captured and executed by the Nazis when he was only twenty-one years old. I found the paragraph written ‘by that young man, in a letter to his mother, the night before he was put to death’ as a great challenge to American thinking today.
…and I want you all to remember – that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for, something every little peasant boy can look forward to, and with pleasure feel he is a part of – something he can work and fight for..Kim Malthe-Brunn
Yes, that in 2022 America might create a country of human decency! Lois Lowry continued
Surely that gift – the gift of a world of human decency – is the one that all countries hunger for still. I hope that this story of Denmark, and its people, will remind us all that such a world is possible.Afterword, Number the Stars
It is possible. We must all strive for that world to come into being. We must adjust our individual attitudes to be as inclusive as possible to others who seem different from us. Just think, the tattooed, the rich, the pierced, the old, the poor, the young, the infirm, those who worship in ways other than ours, the dark and the light skinned, the olive and red skinned, the ones with interesting eyes that do not run in our family, the left, the right, the indifferent, those who seem invisible in our circles. The world contains so much that we do not understand. Rather than shame, blame and accuse those who are different, can we make a world of decency where they are simply allowed to be as they are without our criticism and attempts to change them to be like us? “An ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one.” The Bible also has much we do not understand. My intention here is not to offend anyone. This is solely my opinion.
How will we answer the Great Shepherd when we face Him?
I have other sheep that are not in this sheep pen. I must also bring them together, when they hear my voice. Then there will be one flock of sheep and one shepherd.John 10:16 CEV
We speculate on much of the meaning of Scripture. I, too, am uncertain of the meaning at times. Repeatedly we conjecture the meaning and then it is as if the Holy Spirit shows a vast swath of the church an enlightened meaning. I do not presume to understand John 10:16 thoroughly. I am, however, open to the instruction of the Spirit to teach me and show me what the words recorded as having been said by Jesus my Lord mean.
The Divine Image
William Blake - 1757-1827
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God, our father dear:
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.
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