Talking About God at Buchenwald

Last week here in Germany, I took my class to Buchenwald concentration camp.

After touring the grounds and going through the crematorium, where we viewed the ovens used to burn the corpses, I walked the group over to a shady spot, the zoo built for the entertainment of the SS officers.

And there I tried to talk about God.

In my spiritual biography, the Holocaust is what prompted my greatest faith struggles in High School and college. And it's the same for many of my students. If not the Holocaust, then some aspect of the problem of horrific suffering.

So, what do you say about God at Buchenwald?

Not much, but I did say this.

God was tortured. God was murdered. On the cross, God stood in divine solidarity with every victim.

Where is God at Buchenwald?

God is in the ovens. God is in the pile of corpses. God is in the black ash floating on the winter air.

Knowing this--knowing that God is always in the faces of those were are hurting--is the only power in the world that can keep the darkness at bay.

Without the cross, the divine sign of contradiction, there is nothing between us and the abyss.

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