Word of the Month

Reminding – awakening – keeping alive

May 2011

When you read the letters of the Apostles in the New Testament, you cannot help but be surprised that preserving, keeping alive, and reminding the believers of important insights and beliefs was already an issue then. When we consider that these epistles were only written a relatively short time after Jesus’ life on earth – in one passage Paul writes that the majority of eyewitnesses to the Risen One are still alive – it is surprising to note the many problems that apparently surfaced in the young congregations only a short time afterward already: certain fundamental beliefs were in danger of losing their significance, some had dropped completely out of mind, and others had simply become eclipsed and buried by the many other issues of life.

How else could one explain that the Apostles turned to the congregations at the time in a practically imploring tone with formulations such as: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15: 1), “Yes, I think it is right … to stir you up by reminding you…” (cf. 2 Peter 1: 13), or “Brethren, I now write to you this second epistle … by way of reminder” (cf. 1 Peter 3: 1)? Quite obviously, there were threats and there was a need to act! The most important beliefs had to be kept alive. It became necessary to reawaken these elements and create awareness of them among the believers once again. Thus it was already part of the Apostles’ task right from the start to keep alive those things that could be not al­lowed to go dormant, and even to reawaken the things that had already become dormant here and there. Should this not apply to the Apostles of today to an even greater degree?

As Chief Apostle, I too see it as my task to keep alive that which is divine in the congregations around the world, or – if necessary – also to reawaken certain things from time to time. We have all made the experience that we become tired over the course of time. We can also become tired in faith. At such times, our faith must be reawakened and filled with new life.

At times I hear young people say that they have never really experienced God in their lives. In such cases, I recommend that you make a point of living your faith very conscientiously for a while – that you conduct yourself in a thoroughly New Apostolic fashion. Then you will make experiences of faith! And these will rekindle your faith.

And how is it with the parents, whose faith at times also needs to be reawakened here and there? Please remember all of the things you have already experienced in your faith! Count the many blessings you have received and recall the things you have forgotten or that have gone lost over the course of the years. Allow these things to come back to life in your memory so that they can once again benefit you!

Our hope in the day of the Lord – how quickly this is relegated into the background! How quickly this can go dormant within us! Indeed, our hope in the day of the Lord must never be allowed to suffocate under the cares and sorrows of everyday life!

Certainly, our hope is not as defined and alive the same way every day. As human beings we are subject to certain fluctuations. But if our hope were to go dormant it would be very difficult to reawaken. Let us never allow things to go that far! Our hope in the Lord has to remain alive and must not be obscured by other things. To ensure this is one of the main concerns of the Apostles in our time!       

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)