Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Telling Time

Back in college, I was asked to lead a Wednesday night Bible study in my home church.  As an eager burgeoning person with a sense of calling to ministry, I wanted to take it on, even if I had less experience.  I decided to talk about peace issues and how Christians live the faith in a complex world.  In other words, a big topic that not too many people arrived at expecting to tackle on a hot August night in southeast Kansas.

I had with me a copy of the latest issue of Sojourners magazine, which featured a provocative cover image.   A similar image appears here:

As we talked about the Bible and peace, I brought out the magazine and asked people to look at the cover image.

For some around the table, they were puzzled why a wrist watch was so important.

For others, they studied the image, trying to sort out if the time shown on the watch had any sort of significance.

I shared the story of the wristwatch, found in the ruins of Hiroshima after the nuclear bomb explosion on August 6, 1945.

Many of the Bible study participants remembered firsthand experience (some even as veterans or the spouses of veterans) of the Second World War.  The curiosity about the image turned into awkward silence.

Twenty years later, I continue to look up this image and ponder the everyday juxtaposed with the horrifying and unsettling story of how the watch stopped, its hands frozen in the midst of a time now distant, yet its legacy and troubling questions remain.

It is often said, "Remember."  And to this may we keep working for peace with the resolve of "Never again."

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