Back in World War II, a young man named, Jürgen Moltmann was drafted to serve in Hitler’s army. He was assigned to an anti-aircraft unit. While on assignment, he saw many things people should never have to see—like fellow soldiers being burned to death in fire bombings.
When Germany surrendered, he was taken to a prison camp. During his three years there, he witnessed other German prisoners around him, who, he said, became hopeless. He could have been one of them.
However, while in prison, an American chaplain gave him an Army-issue New Testament and book of Psalms, signed by President Roosevelt. Even though Moltmann wasn’t a Christian, he started reading the scriptures anyway. That reading, allowed Moltmann to discover hope. He became convinced that God was present with him, “even behind the barbed wire.” After being transferred to a camp run by the YMCA, Moltmann learned Christian beliefs, and experienced the love and the acceptance of the local population. They “treated me better than the German army,” he told journalist Philip Yancey. Moltmann said that the gospel was life-giving good news for him.
Moltmann not only found God and love and acceptance through Christ, he found a calling. He became a Christian theologian who wrote about things like God’s presence in suffering and the hope that we have because we are Easter people. Easter Sunday is the beginning of the “laughter of the redeemed,” he says; it is “God’s protest against death.” God is not satisfied with the way the world is today, and he intends to make all things new.
Moltmann’s right! Easter is God’s way of transforming all of life and all of history. Moltmann’s right! Easter brings hope. Because Christ’s conquered sin and death, there’s nothing he cannot do. There’s no wrong he can’t right. So there’s always hope.
Moltmann’s right! Easter tells us that there’s nothing that can separate us from God. Sin and suffering ultimately have no sway, for God is with us always. God doesn’t abandon us as we suffer, but is working to make all things new. God’s working to bring blessing from the rough and tumble, white-knuckle and unjust times of our lives. God is in our midst, loving us, healing us, raising us up.
These days following Easter then, give us cause to celebrate! Because of Easter, we always have reason to hope! Because of Easter, we always have reason to rejoice! Because of Easter, nothing can separate us from the love of God who makes all things new!