(February 17, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge…
Halfway through February already!
On Sunday, with great-granddaughter Avaleigh’s help, we celebrated Robert’s birthday entrance into the Octogenarian Club (Well, there must be one somewhere!).
Put this picture on FaceBook with a note that he was now officially an Octogenarian, but which one is the bub(:-)?
Seriously though, every February not only reminds us of Robert’s birthday and the usual one-year older challenges, but this thought also…
If God were to judge our proposed 2022 achievements by a row of lit candles, He’d be reminding us that one is already snuffed out and we’ve only eleven more before the year is gone.
Book 3 of Virgil’s Georgics, line 284 explains fugit inreparabile tempus as ‘It escapes, irretrievable time.’ We usually say, ‘Time is on the wing!’– our proverbial explanation of tempus fugit.
Don’t know about you, but our January certainly winged by (with all sorts of incidents, adventures, health, and other challenges, just not victories!
Doubtless, like us, you too have inspired goals and aspirations for 2022… in all these we need to know in our heart that we can rely on our God and that, through Jesus Christ, we have the incredible power of the Holy Spirit within.
Caring for others
But we need caring friends too!
Jude 1:20-21 is very encouraging: ‘You, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (NLT).
Why? Because as well as knowing what God has told us to do, when challenged – as all who would venture forth to serve Jesus and help build His church will be – we can recall that we have good friends who have our backs! And we can move on.
Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-14 about pressing forward: ‘I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.’
We’re glad that as we dare to press on despite troubled times in this disillusioned, covid-19 and other strange illnesses, we have good friends around the world from different backgrounds and denominations backing, praying, and caring for us. And we too must care for others!
Last night we watched a YouTube series Rescuers: Stories of Courage episode, set in WW2 Poland conquered by the Nazis. A brave young Catholic girl protected a very young Jewish boy, claiming him as her son and pretending he too was of her faith. When confiding the truth to her priest, he said simply but meaningfully, ‘Everyone should know at least one Jewish family.’
The ‘Female Oscar Schindler’
We were reminded of another caring Polish lady… Irena Sendler, born in 1910. Who? you ask. One of the bravest women in WW2 she died in 2008 aged 98.
As a young Polish Catholic social worker, Irena Sendler got permission to work in the WW2 Warsaw Ghetto where 500,000 Polish Jews had been herded behind walls to await liquidation.
But she had an ulterior motive… Irena Sendler was actually a Zegota (underground Rescuers of Jews) leader, and smuggled infants and babies out in coffins, sacks, suitcases, and other means. This brave young woman hurried them through a network of secret passages and basements or across Nazi soldier-patrolled streets.
It’s told that Irena had a dog she trained to bark when Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. Soldiers wanted nothing to do with that fierce-sounding animal and its barking covered the noises of the children and infants. Irena and her network managed to defy the Nazis by smuggling out 2500 children and infants!
But, unfortunately, she was caught in 1943. The Nazis tortured her severely, breaking her feet and legs but she refused to disclose the location of a record she had made of the children’s names.
(Left) Warsaw, 2005: Irena Sendler with some people she saved as children
Unrecognised for years
Irena Sender’s achievement had gone largely unnoticed for many years but in 1967 she was recognised by the Yad Vashemin Complex as one of the Polish Righteous Among the Nations, and a tree was planted in her honour at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Avenue of the Righteous.
Later, in 1991 Irena Sendler was made an honorary citizen of Israel and in 1996 she was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. She was to receive a higher version of this award, the Commander’s Cross with Star, in 2001.
Interestingly, Irena’s story was discovered by four young students at Uniontown High School, Kansas. They wrote Life in a Jar, a play about the heroic actions of Irena Sendler and winning an award. The presentation, seen in many venues in the United States and popularised by National Public Radio, C-SPAN and CBS, brought Irena’s story to a wider public.
Never seeking ‘a glory title’
Now there’s a subheading that describes Irena Sendler’s justification for living…
This committed lady’s simple belief was: ‘Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this earth, and not a title to glory.’
After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived the Holocaust and reunite the family. Most had been gassed. The children she helped were placed into foster family homes or adopted.
This incredibly brave lady as mentioned above has been called the ‘Female Oscar Schindler.’ In 2007 she was yet again (third time!) nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Amazingly she was not selected. Would you believe Al Gore won… for a slide show on global warming!
Yet, regarding her wartime lack of recognition, Irena said simply, ‘Did the world help me when I was saving these children? I walked the streets, crying over my helplessness.’ Never considering herself a hero, she claimed no credit for her actions but said, ‘I could have done more. This regret will follow me to my death.’
We recommend the 2009 movie The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (starring Anna Paquin) and Irena Sendler https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/irenasendler.html
Are you feeling unknown, misunderstood, alone, crying out for help?
The reality is that a Christian’s lot (whether minister or simply God-honouring Christian knowing His ways and obeying His directions) is that we may not always be recognised for our worth or achievements!
To feel alone, that no one – other Christians, pastoral leaders – understands us or wants to help is sad… but our lot at times, ‘our glory’ if we could say that.
But the Lord understands… He had His black moments! (Remember His dilemma in Luke 22:39-46). We too can push on through regardless – with His supernatural help and power. How?
We can draw courage afresh from the great comforter, the Holy Spirit! Oh our tears may flow at times, sickness, sadness, traumas may overwhelm us seeking to instill fear, panic and hold us back… but we will get wonderfully blessed during our ministry here if we press on regardless, seeking no worldly acclaim.
Press on for the prize!
Our Christ-awarded ‘Nobel Prize’ reward (and, incidentally, yet more ministry!) awaits us in glory with a rousing welcome: ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!‘ (Matthew 25:23NLT).
Whether our callings, challenges, in life are big or small in our eyes or those of others, to Jesus they’re simply all part of His overall plan. He has already done the real hard work – as we’ll celebrate April 15 weekend!
Oh… that priest’s recommendation, and the title of this article – Know a Jewish family? Maybe you don’t… or maybe you do, and honour Psalm 122:6Mge (‘Pray for Jerusalem’s peace! Prosperity to all you Jerusalem-lovers!)
In any case, as highlighted earlier, we Christians need good Christian friends from any denomination who’ll have our back!
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook (Scripture/other emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources available for reuse under creative commons have been used in good faith and not for profit).