United in Christ and with each other
It was “a Sunday like no other” in the Stade Martyr in Kinshasa, where the national football team of the Democratic Republic of the Congo usually plays. That is at least how the Chief Apostle felt about it. More than 35,000 young people had come to see and hear him.
Twice as many could have attended the service in the stadium in Kinshasa on 10 July 2022, but because of Covid restrictions only half of the stadium’s normal capacity was allowed.
The Chief Apostle based this youth service on 1 Corinthians 12: 12–13: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
The Chief Apostle explained that caring and loving relationships are essential for our salvation. United in Christ means that it is a matter of solidarity and contributing together to make salvation possible for our neighbour. All those who have been reborn out of water and Spirit have the possibility to enter the kingdom of God.
Baptised by one Spirit
“In order to enter into fellowship with God, we must correspond to the will of God. We must therefore be transformed into the image of Christ. And this transformation began with our baptism out of water and Spirit”, explained Chief Apostle Schneider.
Believers must therefore learn to think, speak, and love like Jesus Christ. The Chief Apostle pointed out that everyone has been given exactly the same potential: “No matter where you come from, no matter what your situation in life is, whether you are young or old, rich or poor, we have all been given the same opportunity.”
Many members, one body
Chief Apostle Schneider used the image in Corinthians to also refer to how a body is supplied with everything it needs. The different members receive the same food in the same way. “Our food is the word of God and Holy Communion. And this food is the same for everyone; it enables every part of the body to develop.”
Regardless of the differences between people, the same word can supply each person with the strength needed for development. “It is the same gospel, the same message, that allows each person to reach the goal in his or her particular situation.”
This image, however, makes something else clear as well. “Jesus will only take one body with Him, that is, members who are closely connected to one another.” That means that unity is as important as faith.
Unity does not, however, mean that everyone has to eat the same things and love the same things. “We will remain different. What is important is that, as we are, we have faith and trust in God and that we are united in Christ in our differences, in our diversity.”
Solidarity with one another
Apostle Paul emphasised the solidarity between the different parts of the body when he wrote to the Corinthians: “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” In contrast to this, he said, there is a widespread indifference in society today towards the suffering of one’s neighbour.
The Chief Apostle urged the young people to show that we care for one another. If one part of our own body became ill, we would not cut if off, he said. Those who suffer and have problems depend on the solidarity of the entire community. “We will not abandon them. We are not going to condemn them. They are part of our body. We will look after them. We will not reject them.”
The members work together
Christ wants to manifest His presence through this body. This is possible if love connects us to one another and creates unity in spite of differences. Then the body of Christ can fulfil its mission, the Chief Apostle said: “The body must make sure that salvation is accessible to the people. Together let us make sure that the word can be preached, the sacraments can be dispensed, and fraternal fellowship can be experienced.”
At the end of his sermon, Chief Apostle Schneider urged the congregation once more: “We are the body of Christ. We have a mission to fulfil. And we can only do that if we are united in Christ and are there for one another. Together in Christ today and forever.”