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A Field Of Buttercups

He threw aside his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus
Mark 10:46-52 or (Matthew 28:16-20)

Sermon Topic Remnant

Sermon Week Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 10:50


On August 5, 1942, an orphanage (called "Our Home") in the Warsaw ghetto was emptied of its 200 Jewish children. They were to be marched to the little village of Treblinka to be put to death. The children of Our Home Orphanage were counted. Their yellow armbands bearing the Star of David were snipped off and thrown into the center of the courtyard. A Polish policeman who witnessed the scene later recalled, 'It looked like a field of buttercups." ("Treblinka," by Jean Francois Steiner.)

We look with horror at this, and all the great calamities of history. We feel unable to grasp the immensity of the human suffering they represent. Our humanity will not let us forget them. But we know we cannot undo them. And the inescapable, nagging question-"Why?"-pierces our souls. In our heart of hearts we know that without some reassuring word that the enormous slice of life we call sorrow and suffering" is unendurable in the absence of some word that it is not lived in vain. We raise monuments, erect shrines, write songs and poetry and march in parades to memorialize the victims of history's most tragic episodes. But if we do not have an abiding hope in the ultimate Redemption of all the sorrow and suffering symbolized by that "field of buttercups," we are lost souls in a meaningless world.

The hero in Kurt Vonnegut's famous novel, "Slaughterhouse Five," is an ex-prisoner of war who was an eyewitness to one of history's most devastating fire-bombings. He cannot endure the real memory of the enormous human suffering caused by the massive air-raid. Consequently, he fantasizes. He envisions a similar episode as a movie-run backward. Bombers full of holes and corpses and wounded men take off backward from their home base and fly backward toward the target area. Enemy fighter-planes appear on the scene-flying backward. Bullets begin to be sucked out of the crewmen and their planes. Finally, still flying backward, the bombers hover over the bombed area, which is a large city. The bomb-bay doors are opened and exert a miraculous magnetism which shrinks the raging [...]

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