“Shoes on the Danube Bank”
"The composition titled 'Shoes on the Danube Bank' gives remembrance to the people ( mainly Budapest jews ) shot into the Danube during the time of the Arrow Cross terror. The sculptor created sixty pairs of period-appropriate shoes out of iron. The shoes are attached to the stone embankment, and behind them lies a 40 meter long, 70 cm high stone bench. At three points are cast iron signs, with the following text in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew: "To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005."[
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
It happened on the same river that we were enjoying. We were docked 100 meters from the “Shoes”. We saw the remains of hate. We have seen those remains again and again where hate becomes the command. So besides erecting memorials what are we called to do! The idea that remembering the tragedies will prevent them from reoccurring seems to be false given recent events. Where is that balm in Gilead? Can anger and hate be healed?
Upon returning, I was informed that our church was reading Jim Wallis’s book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. There are multiple actions that are recommended in response. The larger answer is that we must be the community of faith that witnesses to the larger truth of being God’s children. It is the Church’s witness of God’s response to the weeping of His children that brings healing and comfort to the grieving.
My personal answer is that I must confess my own quickness to hate, frustration and anger. As Christians we are called to be bearers of the cross that represents our sins and ask again and again for forgiveness. The good news is that is where we meet Christ’s Love that promises a new heaven and a new earth.
Thanks be to God for the gift of healing that first comes with a Love from above.
Wallis, J. (2016). America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. Brazos Press.