Serving God in divine service

Four different ways to serve God—that is what the divine services on the first four Sundays of June are all about. And the fifth holy day of the month has to do with the service that God performs for some very specific people.

“Tend My sheep”—such was the mandate Jesus gave to Peter. So it was that the good shepherd entrusted His flock to the disciple. That is how the gospel of John describes the events.

The book of Acts, on the other hand, relates how Peter carried out this mandate: at the Apostles’ council in Jerusalem, he saw to the unity of the congregations by admonishing the Christians to concentrate on the essential.

This mandate—which has likewise been entrusted to the Chief Apostle—is known as the “Petrine office”: the duties pertaining to it, and the benefit it brings to the believers, is the content of the sermon on the first Sunday of June.

Like Mary …

Aspects of the church of Jesus Christ are still a focal point a week later, however, they are explored from a completely different perspective. This time, the focus is on a certain Miriam, better known today by the name of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Her person is considered an example for all those who follow Jesus: Mary believed the message of the angel and thereby made her election sure. Nevertheless, she never thought of herself as being superior to others, but remained aware of her weakness. And she always remained connected with Jesus—even when things became very difficult for her.

Praising and singing …

With her song of praise, Mary is also an example for the fulfilment of the First Commandment, which is the focal point of the service on the third Sunday of June. “I am the Lord, Your God. […] You shall have no other gods before Me.” This is still just as valid today as it was the moment Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

The First Commandment calls upon the believers to worship God. Which God? The one who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ, who is not only Creator, but also our constant companion and protector. On a collective level, this worship occurs primarily in the divine services, in the form of our communal service to God.

Every Sunday ….

And this already brings us to the fourth Sunday service, which features yet another of the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Israel was to sanctify the day of rest because it was on the seventh day of creation that God rested and sanctified the day. Christians apply this commandment to the Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection.

The Sabbath day can be kept holy by praising, worshipping, and glorifying God, partaking in fellowship with God and with one another, commemorating the resurrection and the sacrifice of Jesus, and interceding with God on behalf of our neighbour. Or, to express it more concisely—as our Chief Apostle puts it: “The best way to keep the Sabbath day holy is for us to participate in the divine service.”

Here as in the beyond

Jesus Christ performed the greatest service of all upon mankind: He died and resurrected, and thereby paved the way to eternal fellowship with God. And this not only applies to the living, according to 1 Thessalonians 4: 14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

This makes it clear to New Apostolic Christians that anyone who believes in Christ and receives the sacraments follows in the same course of events that the Man Jesus experienced. He was the first to live through the resurrection. This applies to more than merely the immortality of the soul, but rather has its effect on the person as a whole—body, soul, and spirit alike. But this is the content of the fifth Sunday of June, which prepares the way for the divine service for the departed on the first weekend of July.

Photo: BackgroundWorld -

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Andreas Rother
Divine service