Reflections on the Tragedy in Poland

PolandPoland is one of those countries to which today's Americans don't pay a lot of attention. Americans typically remember Poland as the country ravaged by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Sadly, as of this morning, Americans will know Poland for something else. Overnight, a plane carrying Poland's President and several other key leaders went down in Russia. Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and some of the country's highest military and civilian leaders were among 96 killed in the crash.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Polish people. America, fortunately, has never had to endure the sudden loss of a president to a "natural" occurrence. On the dark side, our presidential disasters have been man-made for the most part. Thus, it may be hard for us Americans to imagine what it be like to go to bed one night with a president and cabinet and have them all gone the next morning. Even the most ardent critics of any administration, provided they have their marbles and humanity, wouldn't wish such on any administration and would mourn their loss. Perhaps this is a good time for us all to check our civility quotient. Perhaps we can learn something our friends in Central Europe.

One side plot that will bear watching Poland and Russia's history of strained relations. Though all indications are that this was completely an accident, this tragedy is not likely to help relations between the two countries. There is likely to be suspicion, conspiracy theories, and feelings of deep insecurity as the United States recently committed to scrapping it's missile shield project in the area. Given Poland's history of being invaded and the fact that it borders Russia, the Czech Republic, and other volatile regions, insecurity will be plenty. The Polish people will likely wonder if their country will be taken advantage of during this period in which they are leaderless. Or, will a tyrant emerge from within Poland? Most of Poland's key leaders were on the plane…including the first lady of Poland. They are vulnerable. What a tragedy.

Here are some questions I've pondered as we reflect on all this. I'd love to hear your responses. I will grant that these are not warm, fuzzy questions on which to reflect, but reflection on times like these.

  • What obligation do the strong (i.e, the superpowers of the world) have to insure Poland's relative peace as they try to raise up new leadership?
  • Memory is powerful. Poland's collective memory can work for it or against it here. Poland can allow the memory of Nazi takeover and concentration camps to prevail, or they can remember how they came back from unspeakable tragedy before and can do it again. Both are real memories. Which dominates will likely determine Poland's recovery.
  • How important is leadership? If it were gone suddenly from our country, or from your church, what impact would it have? I'll answer this one: HUGE. It's a good thing to ask questions like this…because it helps us pay attention to raising up new leaders.




Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

3 thoughts on “Reflections on the Tragedy in Poland

  1. Well, I’m going to steer away from answering the first 2 questions but question 3 is a great question. In fact, I do often think about this… which can tend to be a bad thing being a pessimist. And I probably should not talk too much about the countries leaders because although it would be sad, I would just praying for new Christ-like leaders to be there to take their place. And I’ll leave the politics there at the door…
    However, I think it is vital to think about this in regards to the church, and like I said, I do. At any moment, God might greet our leaders in the church at His pearly gates – and if the church is not prepared with leaders to step in and lead, then what? The church dies instantly? The people lose faith? Church needs to be a place where the leaders in place, are teaching and instructing younger or less mature Christians to know God’s word so they can one day lead the church. In fact when I think about our church, I think about leaders like you Tim and Randy and how especially those roles at NCCC are so vital to the members and visitors and community. What if something were to happen to one or both of you? Hopefully we have and continue to build up strong men in the church who will serve and preach and do the will of the Lord so His church may stand strong. And for me as a woman, I think about the ladies who are my mentors and the serving and teaching they do daily! I want to know that when my time comes, especially when my girls are grown (or growing) that I can stand in those ladies’ places with the same knowledge and heart to serve that they have passed onto me.
    Thanks Tim for opening this up.

  2. Thank you for writing about this. It seems like it is a passing blip on the news radar screen. This company will be devastated for a generation or more and details are hard to find in the American media.
    I have grieved all weekend for Poland and her people. I cannot fathom the shock, grief, and sadness they are experiencing. It certainly puts life in a different perspective.

  3. I too am saddened by the tragedy of the Polish people. To lose ALL of your political officers at once is nothing short of mind boogeling (how you spell that word?). Truly tragic in every since of the word. God has promised He would be the Father of all people. He is especially the God of the fatherless and helpless. He is faithful and He will do it. God will protect them. He can use the US or any other nation of His choosing. I hope we will step up to the plate and help them. God bless you Tim and Spivey clan. Grace and Peace.