God asks, we answer

The New Apostolic Sunday services in July will explore the great questions that God asks us. The answers to these questions are a concrete way forward: they prepare the congregations for the return of Jesus Christ in an intensive manner.

New inhabitants

The month of July starts with the divine service for the departed. The Bible text speaks of a strong city, which is an image for the church of Christ. The inhabitants of this city have been baptised with water, believe in Jesus, and follow Him. Since this is the service for the departed, there is a celebration in this city to welcome new inhabitants, namely the dead who have come to believe and have received the sacraments and can now—figuratively speaking—move into the city.

Where are you?

The question on the second Sunday will prompt us to examine our hearts’ disposition. When God asked Adam and Eve this question, they hid in shame. The question, however, demonstrates that God continues to care for and love human beings in spite of all their mistakes.

The service mentions further touchstones in question form:

  • “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8: 25). Sometimes we are confronted with situations that seem hopeless. We have big concerns. But the Holy Spirit guides us and encourages us to trust in God.
  • “Why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9: 4) Whatever we do to our neighbour, we do to the Lord. That is why it is so important to treat our neighbour in the love of Jesus.
  • “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” (Mark 9: 33) What we talk about and the way we talk about it determine the atmosphere where we are. What is really important therefore is that our words reflect the good that Jesus does.

Where is your brother?

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” This Bible text from Genesis 4: 9 is the focus of the sermon on the third Sunday. Cain was completely indifferent to his brother. Jesus Christ, however, explained that love of neighbour and love of God are the greatest commandments. He always loved and care for those who needed help. A model for Christians today.

Whoever follows this role model, helps in shaping congregational life, for example. If love is the driving force in everything we do, there will be a lot of warmth in the congregation. This is how we can help one another in preparing for the return of Christ.

“Why are you weeping?”

This is the question Jesus asked a distraught Mary Magdalene on Easter morning. When she saw the empty tomb, she burst into tears. She had no idea what had happened. As she was standing there weeping, Jesus suddenly appeared. His question was not meant as a reproach. It was an expression of His love and care.

On the fourth Sunday, the service will focus on the fact that Jesus cared for people and comforted them because He loved them. He understands the pain we feel because He Himself experienced it. He was also a man. The divine service aims to show that Jesus is on the side of those who trust and confide in Him. And that Jesus’ love makes it possible to even share in the sufferings and joys of our neighbour.

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

The fifth Sunday will revolve around this question from Luke 18: 41. A blind man had recognised that Jesus is the Messiah and asked Him for help. Jesus Christ showed Him that He had the power to heal. By healing people, Jesus Christ revealed that He had the power to forgive sins and to bring the outcasts back among the chosen people, and in the process prove God’s love to them.

The sermon will address our belief that the love of God is never indifferent to human needs and distress—as insignificant as they may seem. The sermon will also focus on intercession and the belief that God loves all human beings.

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Katrin Löwen
Divine service