Happy Birthday, church!

Pentecost two thousand years ago is considered to be the birth of the church. What has become of this child? Has it grown up by now? Has it made good strides into a meaningful life? Does it act responsibly? Some comments.

Without church the world would be a much rougher place. There is ethical interaction outside of Christian society, but it was Jesus Christ who repeatedly pointed out, and clearly, just how important responsible interaction is with respect to the neighbour. Here is an example from Matthew 25:

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for

  • ‘I was hungry and you gave Me food;
  • ‘I was thirsty and you gave Me drink;
  • ‘I was a stranger and you took Me in;
  • ‘I was naked and you clothed Me;
  • ‘I was sick and you visited Me;
  • ‘I was in prison and you came to Me.’”

How would you like it?

Since He is referring to the judgement here, we must also shed light on the other side of the story.

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for

  • ‘I was hungry and you gave Me no food;
  • ‘I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
  • ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in,
  • ‘naked and you did not clothe Me,
  • ‘sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’”

Black and white? Right and wrong? That is not the question. What matters is the personal choice we make for or against the Lord. Two thousand years after the birth of the church of Christ this question still exists, and it is still existential. In the course of church history, there have been many twists and turns. However, this does not relieve us of our own responsibility.

We must ask ourselves the question whether we have grown in love for God and our neighbour, whether we represent the church of the Lord, whether we are prepared to share its value, content, and crucial importance for humanity from generation to generation, virtually as a succession of love.

Grow up!

This is what the Holy Spirit teaches us, who came down from heaven at Pentecost, in order to make of us humans true witnesses of the gospel. Man, woman, decide; and grow up.

Photo: nuzza11 - stock.adobe.com

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Peter Johanning
Pentecost, Congregational life