Word of the Month

In God's High School

February 2002

Our Heavenly Father works upon our souls in each divine service, so that we may acquire more and more divine virtues and become worthy to enter into eternal glory at the return of Jesus. Apostle Peter described how the final "report card" of this "education" should read: "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous." (1 Peter 3:8). These are grades that can be earned in "God's High School".

To be of one mind means to be one with Jesus Christ, our Lord, but also to be one with those whom God sends us, to be one with all those who carry God's name and who are His children. The Lord Jesus Himself once prayed: "Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are." (cf. John 17:11). How can we demonstrate this oneness? By loving our Brother and Sister, by supporting and helping them in their battle of faith, so that peace and oneness may be preserved in the congregation.

To have compassion for one another - what is meant by this? To be able to sympathize and have pity. When we see our Brother or Sister experiencing worries and affliction, or grief and pain, then it is important to comfort, to dress their wounds and to come before the Lord in prayer.

To love as brothers: What distinguishes true brothers? They stick together in joy and in suffering. Brothers stand at each other's side with counsel and deeds, they encourage each other; they stretch out their hands in reconciliation, they reach under each other's arms to support one another.

To be tenderhearted includes having a warm, sympathetic heart as well as to be gentle and willing to help. The Son of God brought up the example of the Good Samaritan. Unlike the priest and the Levite, he did not ignore the half-dead man, but rather applied oil and wine to his wounds, bandaged them and brought him to the inn, and paid the innkeeper in advance for his care. The Lord Jesus deals with us in the same manner. If our soul is wounded, He gives us the oil of the Spirit, and wine - the symbol of joy and of strength, He bandages our wounds and brings us into the inn - the house of God. He has even paid for our salvation with His sacrifice - also for the moment when He will return and when we will receive the grace that we still need at His appearing.

Lastly, it is important to be courteous, that is, not to elevate ourselves above others, but rather to recognize that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory that we ought to have before God. This is often very difficult for the arrogant spirit of man.

Let us learn diligently in God's High School that as Brothers and Sisters we become one with the word of God, one with the will of the Lord, and one with the Apostles whom He has sent for our salvation. Let us be compassionate, love as brothers, tenderhearted and courteous. Then the highest of all grades can be issued us: to be accepted into glory by grace!

(Excerpt from a divine service of the Chief Apostle)