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The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Leviticus 19.34

Last night we watched The Keeper, which is a film based on the true life-story of Bert Trautmann. Trautmann was a German paratrooper in World War 2, who was captured and sent to a prison camp in England. Having come to local attention as a safe pair of hands in the front of the goalposts, he went on to be selected for Manchester City Football Club, where he enjoyed an illustrious career spanning 545 appearances. His family life was challenging but ultimately happy and he was awarded the OBE for his contribution to post-war reconciliation, becoming the first foreigner to be voted English Player of the Year.

The early part of the film conveys the hostility with which his hosts initially treated Trautmann. This is understandable on account of his involvement in the suffering, loss and grief which would have touched every British family at the time. However it is a fitting tribute to all involved that they were able to work through these difficulties to create something beautiful and inspiring. Such is the fruit of reconciliation. Things will never be the same again but recovery is possible and the end result may be even better. This does not justify evil, so much as it offers us a way forward. In a fallen world and until Jesus returns things will go wrong. What is at stake is whether we allow such tragedies to break or make us.



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