Saturday, 16. April 2022

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Easter Message of the General Secretary of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity

The last weeks before Easter have been marked by images of war and violence, especially in Ukraine, but also in many other places in the world. These images frighten us, not only in Europe, but in all parts of the EMS Fellowship. This is because we know that the war and the rising tensions have global repercussions. In contrast to the apocalyptic images of death and destruction that we are seeing in the media these days, I would like to offer the images of hope that John describes in his Revelation:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21,1:5)

The apocalypse in John's Revelation does not mean violence and death but the vision of a new world. A world in which there is no more suffering, no more tears and no more pain. John describes for us the hopeful prospect of another world in which the people who are now being driven apart by war and violence are brought together in one great community.

We know that John wrote this vision of a new heaven and a new earth in a situation of terrible distress and persecution by the Romans. In a situation where people desperately asked the question: Where will help come from now?

The answer in John's Revelation is from the hope of another, a better world. This is not meant to be mere consolation. In keeping with the motto, just bear the suffering here, and you will be all the better off on the other side. The underlying conviction is that the meaning of this world can only be understood at its end. God says, “See, I am making all things new.” This encourages us to change the world now in the spirit of this vision.

At Easter we celebrate the dawn of this new world. The risen Jesus Christ is the first-born of this new creation. Even in suffering and dying he is with us. Easter is the beginning of a new era. The apocalypse is not the end but the dawn of the world to come. This is our hope and from this power we live.

I wish you a blessed Easter.

Rev. Dr. Dieter Heidtmann

General Secretary

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