Stronger than all human weaknesses

Making the impossible possible? Yes, there is a power that can do that. It has something to do with a seed, a mountain, and a tree. Explanations were given in a divine service by the Chief Apostle.

“Increase our faith!” is what the disciples asked the Lord. His response to them was the basis for a divine service on 10 July 2016 in Tirana in Albania: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17: 6).

“Neither the size of the mustard seed nor its appearance is important. What is important is that it contains life,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said. “We believe in Jesus Christ. Not the outward signs are important here, but the fact that this faith contains life.”

Trust in God makes us strong

“What do we believe in?” We find the answer in the New Apostolic Catechism: in the triune God, in the death, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ, in eternal life, in the church of Christ and the Apostles, in the forgiveness of sins, and the sacraments. But living faith is far more than just merely thinking something is true. “We trust in the dependability of God, commit ourselves to Him, and shape our lives accordingly.” Those who have faith like a mustard seed can make the impossible possible.

The Chief Apostle gave a biblical example of faith. God had promised Abraham that he would be blessed, but he had to go to another country for it. “The whole thing seemed so impossible, so unlikely, but Abraham believed and was obedient.” Today God calls to the faithful: “I want to give you eternal life.” For this we have to follow a certain way and model our lives on the gospel and follow Jesus Christ. And then we will experience the impossible: eternal fellowship with God.

Defying imperfections

True faith can move mountains, the Chief Apostle said, referring to a second analogy in which Jesus spoke of a mustard seed (Matthew 17: 20). “The mountain that Jesus refers to here is an image for the difficulties we encounter in our lives and in our faith,” the Chief Apostle said. He became very concrete: “We see the church, the Apostles, the ministers, the brothers and sisters, and ourselves, and everything is so human! Sometimes these human aspects are like mountains that are in our way.”

“Despite all the imperfections, we believe that Jesus is active in the Apostle ministry. Even if the sermon is not perfect because it is delivered by imperfect human beings, we believe that we receive divine strength through it. We believe in the power of Holy Communion to produce effects. We believe that Jesus Christ will grant us the grace to be ready on His day. This faith is stronger than imperfection.”

Modelling our lives on the gospel

Strong faith also enables us to spread the gospel no matter what the circumstances may be. This is how the Chief Apostle interpreted the image of the mulberry tree mentioned in the Bible text. “The idea is not to write an article in a newspaper, but to make a positive impression in daily life and to draw people’s attention by attending the divine services. This is how we can spread our faith and make the impossible become possible: we will still find souls.”

And finally: “We really believe in the forgiveness of sins. We really believe in the love of God. And this has effects. One is that we are able to forgive our neighbour, even if people generally think this is completely impossible. We can do it, but not because we are so strong but because Jesus Christ is so great.”

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Andreas Rother
Albania, Chief Apostle, Divine service