Word of the Month


March 1999

Increase means that a number or an amount is enlarged. The Acts report: "But the word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24). Since the Apostles of that time proclaimed the Word of God on a broader and broader base, it gained in intensity and significance for the faithful. And, by the growth of the Word of God, the young Apostolic Church also increased.

Also in the acts of today's Apostles does the word of Paul, addressed to the Thessalonians, have its validity; "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love.." (cf. 1. Thess. 3:12). Firstly, it is very important that the Lord may increase the faith of each one of us. If He does so, we stand firmly and do not yield. As ever has been, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. This is the mystery of how faith may grow and multiply.

In addition to faith, may our love increase, intensify, indeed abound within us. "The Love of God"; Apostle Paul says, "is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost" (cf. Romans 5:5). Now it's up to us to give room to this love so that it may unfold and develop. Then our hearts will be filled with warmth, and naught may separate us from the Work of God.

And one more thing the Lord may increase in our hearts: Hope! Every divine service serves for this purpose, to strengthen our confidence in the return of the Lord. If this confidence turns into certainty, in other words, if it has grown, hope will prevent us from getting tired and sleepy, superficial and cold in the latter days. In the struggle of everyday life, in temptations and hostilities, but also in trials and sorrows, many things may get lost or be weakened. Therefore, may the Lord always increase our faith, love and hope at His altar.

All this happens by God's Word and Grace. In the remission of sins, grace unfolds, grows and multiplies. How much have the contents of the divine services changed in this context by the activity of the Holy Spirit: Nowadays Love, Kindness and the Blessings of God are preached, and less about sin, punishment, death and devil. Has not the awareness of God's Grace grown mightily? Let us be thankful for this!

May it be a joy to everyone to be prepared and completed under the influence of multiplying grace!

Most sincerely,<br/>

Richard Fehr