Word for Easter: Out of the Dark into the Light

No one can escape death. But the Christian faith changes our perspective. Our perspective is eternity.

Have you ever asked yourself after a loved one died: How could God let this happen? Where was God? Is there even a God? And if so, can I care about such a God – who allows terrible things to happen? Hasn’t God forsaken me?

These are legitimate questions to ask. Even Jesus asked on the cross: „My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?“ (Mark 15:34).

We know Good Friday, but we also know Easter Sunday

Christians are not immune from tragedies. But our Christian faith changes our perspective. We know the suffering, we know the grief, we know the pain: we know Good Friday. But we also know Easter Sunday. It is the victory of life over death. And so, even in the concentration camp, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: „We know it, your light shines in the night!“

Death used to be more present than it is today: sons died in wars, children often in infancy. But even today, no one can escape death. The following applies to each of us – no matter how old we get: we are only guests on Earth. We have no permanent home here. But our Christian perspective goes beyond our life here. Our perspective is eternity.

Vita mutatur, non tollitur: Life is changed by death but not taken away. The mortal body remains behind, but a person is a body and a spirit. As Christians, we believe that there is life with God after death: „Father, into your hands I commit my spirit“ (Luke 23:46), said Jesus before dying on the cross.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe once wrote about death: „[It is] like the sun: we see it setting on the horizon, but we know that it continues to shine ‚over there.'“ It is only a metaphor, but it can illustrate that our life does not end with death. We do not know exactly what life after death looks like. To fully understand death is beyond our human horizon. Ultimately, it is only through death that we can cross the boundary between heaven and Earth.

We can all be messengers of God

But where is God right here when a loved one leaves us? Are we not abandoned in our pain and grief?

As Christians, we see what God is like in Jesus Christ. What does Jesus ask of us? Jesus says: As God loves us, we should love him and love one another. Jesus says: „Love your neighbor as yourself!“ (cf. Matthew 22:39).

God works in us through the Holy Spirit. When we are there for others, comforting the grieving, spreading confidence, bringing joy to others, and sharing love, God is there. Then God is in our midst. Then heaven and Earth are touching. Then, we are messengers of God.

And despite all our faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings, we can all be such messengers of God. We can all be angels. Let us be such angels! Because what we do for others is also what remains when we go. That is why Albert Schweitzer once said, „The most important thing in life is the traces of love that we leave behind when we go.“

And the good things we do are not only our true treasures here on Earth. They are also our treasures in heaven. And so, Jesus also tells us: „[S]tore up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also“ (Matthew 6:20-21).

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