Let’s follow Mary’s example
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an extraordinary woman. To this day, she is considered to be the symbol of a church enlivened by faith. Like her, the church must make faith shine brightly. Thoughts from a divine service by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider.
In mid December last year, the city of Pretoria in South Africa was on the Chief Apostle’s programme. Since it coincided with the Advent season, he preached about the meeting of two women: Elizabeth and Mary. Both were pregnant, both were expecting the birth of famous children, both had met an angel, both were deeply devout. “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1: 43–45).
One does not become a Christian by chance
“Mary is considered a symbol for the church of Christ, and she is a true and wonderful example for all of us,” the Chief Apostle said, underlining his explanations. Mary believed in her calling, he said, and followed it to the end. “We did not become New Apostolic Christians by accident or chance, but because God has called us for this purpose. Let’s not doubt in our divine election!” the Chief Apostle urged. Christians have been called to profess the gospel in word and deed. It is their duty to be an active member of the church of Christ, in other words, to serve the church of Christ. “This mission gives meaning to our life; let’s strive to accomplish it!”
A proven faith is a deep faith
Even Mary had to muster faith. In fact, her faith was severely tested. Already the time up until the child’s birth and the first weeks of its life were difficult for her. As an adult, Jesus did perform miracles, but He did not deliver the Israelites from the yoke of the Romans. Not only did He not reign, He was rejected and even put to death. And yet Mary followed Him: “All these things did not prevent Mary from following Jesus all the way to the cross.” Even after the Lord’s death and His resurrection Mary remained faithful to Him. She remained faithful to the Apostles until her death. “What a wonderful example of faith!”
Again the Chief Apostle drew a parallel to the present time: “We have decided to follow Jesus Christ. We have often experienced that God helps, but our faith does not spare us from suffering. We experience the power of the devil, but we remain faithful to Christ.”
The impossible becomes possible
God can make the impossible possible, the Chief Apostle summed up. This is also a touchstone for today’s Christians. Mary believed in the message of the angels. “The virginal conception of Jesus Christ is a mystery that is not accessible to human reason,” he said. “We believe in the rapture of the bride at the return of the Jesus, although no one can explain how this will happen.”
Bearing witness to Jesus Christ is the mission of today’s Christians. This testimony includes three important aspects:
- Jesus Christ brings redemption.
- He will return in order to take His own with Him.
- He has commissioned His Apostles to prepare His return.
And what can Mary’s example teach us? Like Mary was once chosen for a particular mission, Christians today are chosen for a special mission. Divine election did not occur by chance, but for a very good reason: to testify of the gospel and particularly of the return of the Lord.