You ever hear a story that stays with you and really makes you think?  The story of Sir Nicholas Winton came my way recently—he died in 2015 at the age of 106 on the anniversary of the departure of a train he had arranged that carried 241 children to England.  Those children were Jewish and saved from certain death in Nazi-occupied Europe during the Holocaust.  Nicholas Winton was a stockbroker who arranged for 8 trains to carry Jewish children from Prague to Britain, 669 children to be exact.  Once the story of his courageous act became more public, he was even able to meet some of the children he saved (who became grateful adults who wanted to thank him in person.)  To watch a video of one such reunion, you can look at the BBC’s coverage (though fair warning to have tissues ready!)

His actions were truly amazing.  Sir Nicholas Winton brought hundreds of children to safety in Britain, battling bureaucracy along the way.  He couldn’t save their families.  He couldn’t single-handedly defeat the Nazis.  But he could arrange for those 8 trains to make the journey to England.  When we stop and think about it, he saved generations.  Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks explained it by saying, “Our sages said that saving a life is like saving a universe. Sir Nicholas saved hundreds of universes.” 

Now, this is a rather dramatic example of one person making an enormous difference in the lives of so many.  Still, thinking that we are powerless to change things for the better just isn’t true.  One person can make a difference.  One person can change someone’s life for the better or even save a life.  If we ever start thinking that we have no agency, no power, and can’t possibly do anything to make the world or individual peoples’ lives better, I hope that we may consider the life of Sir Nicholas Winton.  Yes, it’s a big example of how one person literally saved hundreds of lives.  But we need all the examples we can get.  One person can make a difference.  (And thanks to this week’s Bible Study Class for our great discussion on the Book of Esther, which made me think about Nicholas Winton’s story and how all of us can have courage and do good for one another.)

Pastor Lauren

(This Week’s Thoughts 9.19.19)