Word of the Month


July 1999

Even though not everything that we experience gives immediate occasion for joy, we want to take to heart the call of the Apostle Paul in his letter to Philippians: "Rejoice!" (cf. Philippians 4:4). There are so many things which can cause us to rejoice: that we can call our God, Father, that his hand protects and leads us, that his son made possible salvation from sin and death through his sacrifice, that we can be a part of his work and have Apostles sent by Jesus. We rejoice over the promised return of the Son of God, over the glorious inheritance in the light, over the reunion with those that have gone before us. We rejoice and thankfully accept that which we receive out of God's hand when things are going well. And even when we encounter evil days, we can still rejoice that we have the strength to carry injustices, crosses and suffering.

Genuine, profound joy stems out of faith and love. We know that faith comes from hearing the sermon and have experienced time and again how our hearts rejoice, when we assimilate the word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit in the divine services, and then adjust our lives accordingly.

The love of God was shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. If we give room to this love, in that we place our Heavenly Father first in everything, and approach our neighbour with good will and a willingness to lend a helping hand, then that brings about joy.

Apostle Paul advised the Corinthians to be perfect (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:11). Is this possible, when one considers the statement in the Holy Scriptures, that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (cf. Romans 3:23)? Yes, indeed! Even if we can never do everything right in thought, word and deed, it is nevertheless possible to be perfect in faith and in following and this should be the goal of our earnest striving.

Apostle Paul advised further: "be of one mind!" and "live in peace". We are still human beings composed of flesh and blood and have our peculiarities, weaknesses and mistakes. Nevertheless, we want to strive to be of one mind with the Lord Jesus. From him we learn to be humble, gentle, affectionate and peaceable. We extract the necessary strength out of the divine services and >from our intimate prayers.

Let us take these admonitions of the Apostle Paul to heart, so that his stated promise can be fulfilled: "...and the God of love and peace shall be with you."

With heartfelt greetings<br/>

Richard Fehr