An example and the prospects it offers

They provide orientation, identification, and in many cases also enthusiasm: role models and idols define our lives from an early age on, and sometimes even into old age. But some heroes help even beyond that.

“The example of Christ” is the thematic series of our Sunday sermons in February. And we are not talking about stars and starlets of the twenty-first century, but about values and content that survive millennia—regardless of nation, culture, language, and social position.

Fancy some gifts? Fancy some gifts? Those who have nothing are to receive everything. This is what God promises those who consider themselves dependent on Him. The Bible speaks about the poor in spirit, meaning those who do not push God aside but build Him into their lives as an essential component. These people know their limitations and also the riches that God can give them—in His supporting love, in His freeing grace and in the coming, eternal fellowship with Him. “The poor are the rich”—or as Jesus summed it up in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5: 3). This is the basis for the first Sunday service in February.

Without any detours through life? How often we lose our way, how often do we take three steps back and only one step forward? Life is simply too uncertain to be planned through from beginning to end and to reach all goals by the shortest route. “Alignment with God” is the title of the divine service on the second Sunday of February. This alignment does not prevent this up and down in life completely, but it does bring peace and security into our own life plans and, above all, provides long-term orientation. “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4: 34).

Is the church dying? Here and there people are predicting the end of the Christian faith, the end of the church. Here and there the teachings of Christ are being falsified and touted as a method for achieving success. And believers turn away because some things develop differently than they expected. A two-thousand-year-old event is the basis of the service on the third Sunday in February: “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother” (Luke 7: 13–15). Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider says in this context: “Jesus leads out of despair and gives new courage.”

Are the dead dead? The last Sunday service in February is in preparation for the divine service for the departed at the beginning of March. “God helps and redeems us!” is the title of article that explores Psalm 126: 1: “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream.” The sermon will make clear that Christian faith goes beyond death. “We believe that the dead and the living comprise a single community in Christ, and that both groups together are part of the Lord’s work of redemption.” And this redemption brings eternal joy. Jesus Christ referred to this over and over during His life and activity on earth. At the return of Christ this enthusiasm will be perfect.

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Oliver Rütten
Divine service