It doesn’t take long as a Pastor to begin to realize there are people in your congregation who are no different than people in the world–they have gifts, talents and opportunity but they are hiding in the pew or in their homes. They just don’t come forward. Someone else will take care of this for me. Someone else will make sure that the church keeps going, someone else will serve on the school board, in the community and vote the way I want them to. It is always someone else. So when I came across this quote by a pastor I somehow was able to relate.
This poem is ascribed to the German pastor Martin Niemoeller (1892–1984), who protested Hitler’s anti-semite measures in person to the fuehrer, was eventually arrested, and then imprisoned for eight years at Sachsenhausen and Dachau (1937–1945).
First they came for the Communists,
– but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
– but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
- but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies.