“Easter is the beginning of the laughter of the redeemed. God’s protest against death. God weeps with us, so we might someday laugh with Him.”—Jurgen Moltmann
A week after Good Friday is always a good time to reflect for me.
What did Holy week mean? What difference does the Resurrection of Jesus make? I never get tired of starting with Jurgen Moltmann. For this former German-soldier-now-theologian, he had seen the worst of what religion can do to people.
Germany’s Nazi party was in full control when he was drafted to fight in the war at 18. He survived, but survivors' guilt troubled him. How did he make it? It took an American chaplain giving him a U.S. Army-issued New Testament with the Psalm underlined, “If I make my bed in Hell, thou Art there,” and an educational camp in England that taught him Christian doctrine and not adding to his burden of guilt over the actions of the Nazis.
In other words, the Resurrection of Jesus gave him hope for the future and an acceptance that because Christ has risen, we have work to do. And have hope to work with, Moltmann reminds us that “the answer to living is the resurrection of the crucified God.”
How do we live and work for Christ in the world because he rose from the dead? For the disciples in Acts, it was obeying and listening to God. They met together, hung out together and prayed together all throughout the Acts (Acts 2:42-47).
The disciples also live for Christ by standing up for each other. Sometimes, it was in court (Acts 5:27-32). Sometimes, disciples lived for Christ by being bold (Acts 8:26-36).
Whatever the case, living took on an entirely different meaning for the disciples when Christ rose from the dead. I now write and meet folks more than I ever did in my teaching career. Why? Because I believe Christ has risen, ladies and gentlemen.
How do you live for Jesus because he rose from the dead? The church has grown and will continue to grow because people have asked this question for centuries and have changed because of the answers that came from asking such a question. Our world needs this good news. And it needs it soon.
John Thomas is pastor at Carroll Springs United Methodist Church.