A question of Christian strength

Sunday is there for Christians; but so is Monday. Everybody can sing religious songs, but applying them in everyday life is a different matter entirely. Being a Christian is a twenty-four-seven challenge.

How nice to be able to put away the black suit on Sunday afternoon … and being able to be oneself again?!? Those who say amen in church on Sunday should remember on Monday and Tuesday what they affirmed on Sunday. Those who received the body and blood of Jesus on Sunday may certainly let everyone around them feel that in the week that follows. Those who call themselves Christian must also act like a Christian—the whole week, without exception.

A Christian is a missionary

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12: 34). Before we can change what we say and do, our heart has the change—there where everything originates. The word and will of God creates good things in the hearts of people. Words become good deeds, the Christian becomes a benefactor and a messenger of the gospel—also in everyday life.

A Christian is hospitable

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4: 9). Let us be sincere, act out of love, and without calculation. Let us be unbiased and fair toward the neighbour, and sincere—also then when no one else sees it.

A Christian is conciliatory

“… not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling” it says in 1 Peter 3: 9. That means not to lash back and get even. Otherwise the cycle of evil will never be broken. Jesus taught that we should be a source of blessing for others, in other words, be kind to them. Those who offend and hurt us are not to be excluded from this. The effort this takes in everyday life is much greater than the sweeping forgiveness we express in the Lord’s Prayer.

A Christian is kind and loving

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10: 27). This is an ambitious working programme that supports this year’s motto, “Victory with Christ”. These are words that rouse and confront us repeatedly with the most important of all commandments: to love our neighbour as ourselves. Who could claim that this is easy.

A Christian is helpful

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3: 17). Your brother needs something? Those who love in a truly Christian way will feel this before he has to come and beg for help. A serving Christian will gladly give of his spiritual and natural goods and help the neighbour (Romans 13: 10).

The Sunday services in the month of September fall under the theme “Being a Christian in everyday life”, a nice follow-up to the services in August, which fell under the motto “Manifestation of faith”. Faith and the resulting Christian life that develops from this must be manifest. Everywhere. Without exception.

“Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car,” the philosopher and theologian Albert Schweitzer once said. Being a Christian is something for everyday life. There are no valid exceptions and excuses—it is not confined to a certain time or place, nor does it apply only to certain people or contexts. And that means changing the way we have lived our lives so far.

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Oliver Rütten
1.09.2016
Congregational life, Divine service