Walking in the Spirit: a how-to-guide at Pentecost
God is very close to mankind through the Holy Spirit. This is what Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider brought home in a very impressive way in the Pentecost service. How the Comforter and Helper works, and how the faithful can use this power, are the most important aspects of the sermon.
Approximately 2,000 brothers and sisters experienced the divine service in the Congress Center in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) live. Tens of thousands of others in Europe enjoyed a live video broadcast. The sermon was based on Galatians 5: 25: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The works of the Holy Spirit
First of all, Pentecost is a feast of thanksgiving, the Chief Apostle said. Central to our gratitude is the fact that God has sent the Holy Spirit and that this power has an effect on earth. By way of example, the Chief Apostle mentioned five works of the Holy Spirit:
- the knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God;
- the divine life in the faithful through the rebirth out of water and Spirit;
- the possibility to hear the word of God;
- the joining of body and blood of Christ to bread and wine in Holy Communion;
- the capacity of ordained ministers to carry out their tasks.
The ways of the Holy Spirit
To be thankful is all very well, the Chief Apostle said with the hint of a smile. But even a mother expects more from her children than a mere thank you. What we can do is explained in the second half of the Bible text: “… let us also walk in the Spirit.”
And how do we walk in the Spirit? The Chief Apostle had five answers ready:
- by accepting the nourishment offered by the Holy Spirit. We show a minimum of thankfulness by helping ourselves to the nourishment we are offered; in other words, by hearing the sermon and accepting it, and by partaking of Holy Communion.
- by praying in the Holy Spirit. Decisive is that we have absolute trust in God. “I know You love me. You are the Almighty. I don’t understand You, but I trust you absolutely,” was the example the Chief Apostle gave.
- by fighting in the Holy Spirit. What is really important here is that we fight against the right enemy. “We do not disdain earthly life, but fight against evil—against everything that contravenes the commandment to love God and the neighbour.
- by serving the Holy Spirit: “We did not become part of the church of Christ to be served,” the Chief Apostle said with reference to the example set by Jesus. “What we do, we do for the Lord.”
- by growing in the Holy Spirit: The best way to serve the Lord, he said, is to prepare ourselves for the return of Christ so that God can proceed with His plan of salvation. “Let us support God in His endeavour out of love for our neighbour.”
Standing up for the values of Christ
“Let us take a stance and set an example,” the Chief Apostle appealed to the congregation shortly before the celebration of Holy Communion. “It is important to us that we do not lose our Christian values in society.” One way to demonstrate this is by a “public proclamation”: our attendance of the divine services for one and our participation in Holy Communion especially. “If you want to profess that Jesus Christ is the way, the helper, and the solution, then let us celebrate Holy Communion.”