Responsible for peace

Pray for peace in the world, this is the appeal made by the New Apostolic Church for 21 September, the International Day of Prayer for Peace. In this way, congregations can even take on a mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ Himself.

There are more conflicts and wars on earth than at any time in the past 30 years. The number of wars and armed conflicts has risen rapidly. Some of them have been going on for decades. More and more often, it is not nations that are facing each other, but armed groups in one and the same country.

Discord is also spreading in society and families: generations and entire groups feel they are at a disadvantage. People no longer manage to talk with each other. Discord and quarrels have become the dominant form of communication. This is especially evident in social media.

Christians are asked to do something against this, and it was Jesus Christ Himself who put out the call: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14: 27).

How God helps

“As a matter of fact, Jesus is referring to two different kinds of peace here,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained in a divine service in Moscow five years ago. “Peace I leave with you” refers to the human approach to peace, he said. “Whereas ‘My peace I give to you’ is a reference to His peace, the peace of God.”

The Chief Apostle identified these aspects of human peace.

  • peace in society: when people live together in harmony, without any conflicts.
  • personal peace: an even-tempered nature, inner harmony, the absence of fear.

“The Lord left this peace to us. That is, He left it up to us,” the Chief Apostle said. “We are responsible for this peace. Every single human being is responsible for it, as is society as a whole.”

How peace is created.

  • “If people want peace, they must make rules and everyone must follow them.”
  • “Where there is injustice there can be no lasting peace. Peace is only possible if everyone’s needs are taken into account.”
  • “There must be a certain amount of tolerance. One must accept that others are different.”

God loves human beings, which is why He offers us His help. “God has given mankind the Ten Commandments, not in order to restrict their freedom, but as a base on which to build peace,” the Chief Apostle said. He went on to say that in His love, Jesus has given a very simple rule. The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

But a Christian can do even more. This is what the divine service this coming Wednesday or Thursday will be about in the greater part of the New Apostolic world. The sermon is based on the Bible text: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5: 9).

The background

The United Nations declared September 21 as the International Day of Peace in 1981, and reaffirmed it in 2002. Since 2004, Christians around the world have observed the day as the International Day of Prayer for Peace on the recommendation of the World Council of Churches.

The New Apostolic Church has supported this movement since 2005. All congregations are asked to say a special prayer for peace in the divine service. As the initiator, Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber specified the opening prayer as a suitable place for this.

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