November 8, 2015

Trinity 23 Sermon 2015

Series: ,
Passage: Luke 20:25
Service Type:

Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish intellectual whose life was bookmarked by the 20th century’s two great wars. Born in Holland in 1914 at the beginning of the First World War, she died in 1943, during the Second World War, in the Auschwitz concentration camp. She was twenty-nine years old. Hillesum offers an account of her conversion, in the darkest days of contemporary world history, in a diary that she kept for a handful of years prior to her death. Under the guidance of a psychotherapist she was introduced to the Scriptures and a growing sense that God dwelt not beyond her, but within her. Cultivating the habit of daily retiring into herself in prayer and adoration, she chronicles a discovery not unlike St Augustine’s some 1600 years earlier: while she had been outside of herself, lost in the myriad distractions of the world, God was within. “Sheltering” his presence (to use her word), adoring it, tending it and serving it in her neighbours would become for her the meaning of her short life. “I look,” she wrote, “for the bloody lesson of these times – for the new insight that will be drawn from the deep well of this darkness and pass on across the barbed wire. I still believe this world will only be redeemed through love … It’s as if the main path of my life stretches even now into another world…”

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