Light out of darkness

 A young German soldier was shipped to the front in the last days of World War II. Aware that his army was in desperate straits and the outcome was certain, he surrendered to the first British soldier he met. He was sent to a prisoner of war camp for the duration of the war.

He came from a family that had no interest in religion. While in the camp, he came to know some fellow soldiers as well as some Allied personnel who were Christians. Far from home, discouraged by his circumstances, and horrified as he learned of the ghastly horrors of concentration camps much different than the one where he was held, he began to consider matters of the spirit for the first time in his life. An American chaplain gave him a New Testament that he read with great interest. His life changed.

That young man was Jürgen Moltmann. He became one of the foremost theologians of our time. One of his greatest contributions was his classic work, Theology of Hope. He spoke of the transformation he experienced: “Many of us then, and I was one, glimpsed the light that radiates from the divine child. This light did not allow me to perish. This hope kept us alive.”

He knew the power of darkness, but he also knew that light was stronger still: “Today I see before me the millions of the imprisoned, the exiled, the deported, the tortured, and the silenced everywhere in the world where people are pushed into darkness. For it is on them that the divine light now shines.”

More than ever, the world needs the light, the life, the hope of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who proclaimed Himself the Light of the world, called His followers to be light and salt in the world He died to save. The season of Christmas gives us many opportunities to push back the darkness!

 

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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