“He rules in our hearts”
The king’s name is Léon. There is thunderous applause as he ascends his throne. Then another king comes, one who is different and changes everything. Scenes from a divine service for children with the Chief Apostle.
“Does Léon look like a king?”
“No!” is the unanimous response from hundreds of children. No problem, this can be changed. Helpers react to shouts from the audience and bring in a monarch’s symbols of power: a crown, a sceptre, a leopard skin cloak, and finally a bodyguard. And then the king goes to work.
His palace is located in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the central church Limete, right next to the administrative offices of the New Apostolic Church DR Congo West. And it is the second service for children which Jean-Luc Schneider is conducting since becoming Chief Apostle.
The one king
Four children approach the throne, one after the other. The king will decide over their fate. Those holding a red card are sentenced to prison by King Léon, “He deserves to be locked up.” The convicted criminals are led away by the mean-looking bodyguards in their dark sunglasses. The children with the green card regain their freedom.
Nearly 3,300 children are watching the short play, plus an unknown number of spectators on TV. The entire divine service is being broadcast on national television, which was already the case with the first service of this kind in Lubumbashi.
The other king
Another child steps forward from the middle of the congregation—without a crown or sceptre. It makes a beeline for the prisoners and says, “I forgive you. You are free.”
The events have reached the stage where the Bible text is read: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1: 31–32).
A completely different kind of king
Jesus is our king—this is the central message of the divine service. He is a completely different kind of king.
- One without splendour and ceremony, a simple person among simple people.
- One who does not accuse or condemn, but who grants forgiveness.
- One who does not force His will upon anyone, but who obeys His heavenly Father.
- One who does not have anyone to wait upon Him, but who serves others.
- One who has gained the victory over death and evil.
“Jesus is in heaven now, but He still rules. Where does he rule?”
“He rules in our hearts.”
“Great answer. Do you all agree?”
“And what does that mean?”
“He takes first place in our lives!”
Following His example
The children and the Chief Apostle interact and explore how they can follow the example of Jesus. By
- approaching others on equal terms.
- forgiving those who have hurt us.
- keeping the commandments of God.
- helping our neighbour, especially by praying for him or her.
- remaining faithful to God in order to be able to enter His kingdom.
The Chief Apostle said in conclusion, “We want to become like Jesus Christ. This will not show in our faces, but our strength will be recognised in our conduct. We can forgive. Whatever happens, we will be able to keep the commandments. We can help others by praying for them and being kind to them. And together we will reach heaven in order to live there with Christ.”