Yesterday we took a brief excursion to the Terror Museum, a building in downtown Budapest that formerly housed the Secret Police during the occupying Nazis and the Communist years of Hungary’s history. Story after story of betrayal, persecution, forced labor, deportation and execution led us through the gloomy halls of the edifice. It is a truly shocking reminder of man’s capacity for cruelty and rebellion towards God.
Exiting the building into the tree-lined avenues of the city felt like a drowning man sucking in air. Budapest is a city that could have been built around the theme of beauty: Statues are strewn through parks and facades, trees and flowers are carefully set among the grand architecture of the Austrian-Hungarian empire while the beautiful Danube glides peacefully through the center. It’s a dream-city of wonder and charm and contradiction.
How the same human race who created such a magical city can turn around and send its neighbors to death camps and torture chambers is a question that only the Biblical account of man can answer: Fashioned in majesty to reflect the glory of His Creator-King, mankind has fallen under a spell of darkness that perverts and corrupts everything he sees. Man writes symphonies and sonnets. And he gasses his neighbors in death camps.
The good news for Budapest is that her exiled King has returned. Having entered our human darkness, He fought his way through the lies and deception and broke the evil spell of sin. The kingdom He holds before us now would make the Austrian-Hungarian Empire look like a poor starving village. Pray that the word will spread to the streets.