From Calvary to Hiroshima

Just before Easter  on a big ship sailing  on the East China Sea between Okinawa, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan, I met Mrs Fumiko Hashizume  from Hiroshima. She was a beautiful old lady of 84 years. She told us her life story. That story started on August 6, 1945 when she was 14 years old.

She was standing at the window in the post office where she worked when the atomic bomb exploded just 1400 metres away from her. Her immediate thought was that the sun had fallen down and she saw a beautiful light like a symphony of rainbows.

The next second she was thrown away by the enormous shock wave and lost consciousness. The rest of her story was heart breaking, it was a story about suffering and pain of unknown dimensions and all of us had tears running from our eyes.

Her story brought me to the darkness of Calvary where Jesus once suffered on the cross. The darkness of Good Friday filled the room.

A few minutes later it was the light from Easter Sunday that filled the room. The lady of Hiroshima stood up, smiled at us and her message was not about revenge or hatred or bitterness. Her message was about peace and hope and light. “I can smile, I can laugh, I can hug!” said the old lady and it was like the light of hope was shining out of the depths of pain she was telling us about.

If we stay in the darkness of Calvary, we will never see the light of Easter Sunday. The way from Calvary to Easter Sunday goes only through love and peace and forgiveness and reconciliation.

This Easter I learnt that from Mrs Fumiko Hashizume who survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik

Dear James, Evelyn, Carlos and Jared, dear friends in Africa,

It is Good Friday and the darkness from Calvary is filling this day, the pain from the crucifixion, the hopelessness of the disciples and the seemingly victory of the power of death.

On this day so loaded with pain and darkness I send you my deep felt condolences with the tragedy in Kenya where so far 147 human beings, most of them young people in the spring of their lives, were mercilessly killed.

I cry with you and I despair together with you. It seems that the power of death is winning day by day.

Against all of this we are following that crucified Son of God and we are marching against the power of death and darkness, we are fighting with weapons of love and reconciliation.

We are the YMCA and we continue to be the YMCA against all destruction and evil.

I pray for the victims and their families and friends. I pray for Africa.

In the name of our crucified Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik
Secretary General
World YMCA