I always ask: “Will we never learn?” And, quickly move on to happier memories, remembering the good times and skimming quickly over the times when our personal or community decisions were unwise and coldly indifferent.
Indifference – perhaps the greatest evil act we can ever commit against a neighbour, workmate, friend or partner who, in need of nothing more than friendship, finds indifference.
It’s been a fairly constant theme of mine to remember times in history when mankind, in general, did unbelievably cruel things in the name or religion or politics and continued to repeat these cruelties over the centuries.
I happen to be scribbling these few words on Friday, April 2 – Good Friday. A good day in the Christian celebration book for a few thoughts on “indifference,” the theme of many First World War poems from the pen of Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy.
Read it thoughtfully even if a non-Christian in belief: “When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree. They drove great nails through hands and feet and made a Calvary. They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep, for those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.
“When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed Him by. They never hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die. For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain. They only just passed down the street and left Him in the rain.
“Still Jesus cried: ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And, still it rained the wintry rain that drenched Him through and through. The crowds went home, and left the streets without a soul to see. And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary.”
It is from Studdert-Kennedy’s “Unutterable Beauty” collection and worth remembering the next time you are fortunate enough to be asked for help – and are able to respond.