“God cannot be stopped!”

Comfort, confidence, and trust in God: it was with these gifts that the Chief Apostle walked the global Church through the crisis. Seldom before had he been seen and heard so often. Here are his ten most important messages throughout 2020, the year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Just have courage: we will move on

“I am certain that this time will help us realise more than ever just how important the divine services and Holy Communion really are to us,” said Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in an interview at the end of March. “Let us trust in God. He always knows how to provide those who love Him with the things they need for salvation!”

Neither a sign nor a punishment

“I feel it is important to make it clear that we do not regard this coronavirus pandemic as a sign of the times that heralds the coming of Jesus Christ,” emphasised the Church leader at Easter. “Our faith in the imminent return of Christ is not based on signs, but on the words of Jesus Christ.” He went on to remark that some people regard the pandemic as a punishment from God. “Such a statement does not come from the Holy Spirit.” After all, “The Holy Spirit speaks of God as a God of love”—not of punishment.

What one does or doesn’t do affects everyone

“In the corona crisis, we experience the solidarity of mankind,” explained the Church leader on Pentecost. “If one does not obey the rules, the whole community is threatened.” This is a good example of the body of Christ, or the congregation of all believers. “If one member suffers, then the whole body suffers.” Every member of the body has different gifts and functions. “But every soul has the same value in the eyes of God, and that is also how it should be for us.”

Coming back as a new person

“We have a unique opportunity to make a change,” he went on to say on Pentecost. “Let us make our decision now: ‘When I go back to my congregation, I want to be a different person. To this end, I will have to make some adjustments.’”

Why don’t you call?

“Mind you, I am still concerned that one or the other might fall by the wayside,” stressed the Chief Apostle in June: “So don’t just wait for the other person to call you. Why don’t you make the first move and ask the other person how it’s going?”

“God is still active!”

“Why does God allow everything to stand still for months?” was his question in July. And the answer: “I don’t know. But I am convinced that there is no standstill with God! God is active. He cannot be stopped.”

The return of Christ has not been cancelled!

“Many activities have been cancelled in the Church in the past months,” said the Church leader in August. “But we have one great comfort: the first resurrection has not been cancelled! And the return of Christ has not been postponed!”

Singing and other gifts of grace

There was one thing in particular that the Covid-19 crisis has taught us: “Many things that I took for granted are an expression of grace—the fact that we have been able to sing together for years, that we were always simply able to get together, greet one another, and speak freely with one another.” This is reason to give thanks: “Dear God, thank You for Your grace! And if possible, grant us this grace again soon!”

“We miss you!”

The video services were also viewed by many members of the Church who have not attended the divine services for years or even decades. “We miss you. We feel your absence! Honestly, we care,” conceded the Chief Apostle in November. “You are most welcome! Whenever you are ready, we will be waiting for you!”

“I am proud of our members!”

“When you look around the world, the coronavirus crisis is just one crisis. There are so many, many others,” Chief Apostle Schneider pointed out at the end of the year, as he had already done in his interview in March, when he made reference to the many forms of misery around the world, including hunger, crime, and natural disaster. The inspiring thing about this for him is “that God’s children have remained faithful, have continued to put their trust in God, and have gone out of their way to make the impossible possible in order to support one another and do good for one another”.

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service