The special thing about Sundays and Wednesdays

A divine service is a feast that God celebrates with believing people. And sometimes congregations have an additional reason to celebrate. This week’s review looks back on some special services that took place over the last several weeks.

Wednesday services are back at last! The congregation of Liberté V in Senegal was delighted when they received the news at the beginning of April. After a very long break due to Covid-19, the congregation was again able to attend a midweek service on 3 April at seven in the evening. The sermon was based on John 21: 3–4: “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.” The sermon revolved around the encounter with the risen Lord. The officiant reminded the congregation: in divine service, whether during the week or on Sundays, Jesus Christ Himself admonishes the believers through His servants.

Across the ocean

The only way that the ministers around Apostle Saidu Bob Freeman were able to get to the congregations of Malima, Momaligie, Yagoi, and York Island was by wearing life jackets. The congregations are located in the south-west of Sierra Leone on the island of Bonthe in the Atlantic Ocean, and it is a bit of an adventurous trip to get there. The only way there is by boat. There had been little news from there for a while which is what prompted the Apostle to drop by and see how his sisters and brothers are doing. He conducted divine services for the members in all four congregations and then took the time for personal discussions over lunch for which everyone stayed.

Double celebration

On 24 March, the faithful of the congregation of Villa Obrera in Argentina had two reasons to celebrate: Palm Sunday fell on the day of the congregation’s seventieth anniversary. And the fact that the day was literally a “Sunday” after days of rain showers was also a reason that everyone was in a good mood. Apostle Pablo Basso conducted the divine service using 1 Kings 8: 29–30 as Bible text. Together with more than 230 people in attendance, he celebrated the seventieth anniversary of the church building by showing a video of the many events and joys in the church. The young people told the story of the church, there was an anniversary cake, and “Happy Birthday” rang out.

A heaven-on-earth day

Sign language interpreters helped people with hearing impairments understand the divine service on 10 March. Brothers and sisters volunteered and took turns to interpret the sermon in Bad Düben in Germany on that Sunday. Using the Bible passage from Luke 15: 18, the officiant made it clear that the gifts received from God should be put at the service of the Lord and shared with our fellow human beings. The atmosphere was very warm and welcoming.

There was also a wonderful atmosphere in Bülach in Switzerland on 14 April, when District Apostle Jürg Zbinden and District Apostle Helper Thomas Deubel conducted the divine service there. The disabled brothers and sisters and their companions were first welcomed with coffee and a braided yeast bun and heard a story about how everyone is unique because they were created by God. The District Apostle read John 6: 9 for the divine service that followed.

After both services—in Bad Düben and Bülach—there was time to take a picture, have a bit to eat, and enjoy a chat with others over a cup of coffee. A sister said about the divine service in Bülach, “It was a wonderful heaven-on-earth day for me.”

A special week of divine services

Holy Week was a very special week for the members of the Behren congregation in France. At each of the divine services that week, they experienced how Jesus entered Jerusalem, was crucified, and rose from the dead. The children from the congregation acted out these important moments in Jesus’ life. They also decorated the altar appropriately before each service. The scenes enacted by the children not only brought the members of the congregation closer to the events of the time, but also helped the children to better understand the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice.

A divine service of superlatives

Almost 180 people received the sacrament of Holy Sealing in a divine service on 5 March. Apostle Gavin Van der Hoven had his hands full during his visit to Saxonsea in South Africa. He based his sermon on the Bible text Luke 18: 13: “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” Seven Deacons were ordained during this divine service as well. After the final hymn, the Apostle took time to say goodbye to the members of the congregation.