Word of the Month

The transformed congregation

November 2018

A well-known and often cited adage by Friedrich Nietzsche about Christendom and Christians in general states: “They would have to sing me better songs to get me to believe in their Redeemer. And His disciples would have to look a little more redeemed to me!”

Even though church music did experience a phase of decline in the nineteenth century, the philosopher’s insinuations that one might draw some conclusions about the nature of Christianity and its truths of salvation from its hymn repertoire seem a little impetuous. However, his reproach that the effects of that which has been done upon a human being should already be visible outwardly certainly has its justification.

In every divine service, the congregation celebrates Holy Communion. In the sacrament they have intimate fellowship with the incarnate, resurrected, and glorified Son of God. Not every celebration of the Lord’s Supper unfolds on the same level, not every such celebration has the same depth—because we are imperfect human beings, dependent on outward conditions and various external and internal factors that have their disturbing effects on us. But if the congregation has celebrated Holy Communion in such a manner that they were able to feel the presence of Jesus Christ, that congregation will be different! No one will be accused there anymore. There will be no more reproaches. There the members will build bridges over things that used to be obstacles to their fellowship. The brethren will leave the past behind them. There the members will find it possible to approach a neighbour they have not spoken to in ten years. A transformation will have taken place. This is something that should be visible for all to see when the church doors are opened up after such a divine service.

Food for thought from a divine service by the Chief Apostle