Sing A Little Louder
Several years ago I was ministering at a church in up state New York. As I gave an altar call, people flooded to the front of the church. As I started praying for the people, I spotted an elderly gentleman standing at the front of the church. I caught his eye, and my heart broke. I had no idea what his story was, but his face was etched with pain. I raised my hand and signaled to him to wait for me. He nodded.
It must have been close to an hour before I was able to make my way to him. I apologized for keeping him so long, but I knew that he had something I had to hear. His old hand took mine, and he began to speak.
“ I was a young man living in Germany during the holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended a little church with my family from the time I was a small boy. We all heard about the atrocities that were happening not far from us in Auschwitz, but it was too difficult to comprehend. What could we do anyway?
There was a train track behind the church, and week after week we would hear the sound of the whistle and the clacking of the wheels as the train passed. It never bothered us. We grew accustomed to it. One morning we heard noise coming from the train. It was the sound of wailing and moaning. We were shocked when we realized that there were people in those box cars! They were being led away to death.”
The dear old man began to weep. I stood there in shock as tears rolled down my face.
“ Week after week that train whistle blew, and we heard the sound of those poor Jews crying out. It was so disturbing that we devised a plan. We moved up our song service, so that when the train passed we would be singing. We sang as loud as we could to drown out the cries. If per chance we still heard them, we just sang a little louder.”
I stood there horrified. I felt anger as he spoke, and yet I was flooded with compassion as he wept. People in the church looked at us curiously as we sank to the floor embracing one another. His story continued.
“ Years have passed, and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear the sound of that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive me! God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene. Tonight I came here and heard your cry. You wept over the millions of babies who have died right here in America. It’s happening all over again! May God forgive America for drowning out the screams of dying children. May God forgive the Church for allowing this holocaust to take place in beautiful America.”