On Sunday morning 31 May 2020, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted the Pentecost divine service in Darmstadt, Germany.
The festive divine service was sent out to all continents on YouTube, via IPTV, by telephone, and on the South African television channel known as NAC-TV. The divine service commenced at 10:00 AM (Central European Daylight Savings Time).
This divine service was made available on Cape Town TV, channel 263 on DSTV, as well as Radio Teemaneng, RadioKC, Voice of Hope FM, RiseFM943, PEFM, Westbury Community Radio and SABIE stereo. Members could also listen to the divine service by calling in from either a mobile phone or landline. This divine service was also streamed live on the NACTV Facebook page.
For members who were unable to watch the divine service, please find a summary of the sermon:
Opening Hymn: Should I not to God be singing (EH62)
Bible word: “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3: 17)
The Holy Spirit makes free—free to love and serve. That is the Chief Apostle’s central message on Pentecost 2020. Here is a divine service between bread crumbs and a full-course menu.
Normally, the Chief Apostle said, the faithful would gather, sing, and celebrate Holy Communion on the birthday of the church of Christ. But during the coronavirus crisis, this is not possible. In fact, for many people this epidemic signifies an existential crisis, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider illustrated impressively.
“Our plans have been changed by God,” he said. However: “God has not changed His plan. He wants to lead His people into His kingdom. He wants to comfort us, to strengthen us, and to bless us. And He will do it.” Even if we cannot enjoy the all-inclusive menu of blessings right now, God can also bless us with crumbs. “You are a child of God. Your Father won’t forget you.”
Tools in God’s hand
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3: 17). This was the Bible text which the sermon was based on. “The Holy Spirit is active as a power. He works in people and through people. That is why He takes people, permeates them, sanctifies them, and makes them tools in God’s hand.” This became clear on the first Pentecost and through the actions and conduct of the first Christians.
The believers today have the same three tasks as then.
1. Proclaiming the gospel
It was through the Holy Spirit that Peter, Stephen, Philip and his four daughters were able to proclaim the message of Christ freely and without fear. “This is still valid today. We must show: the gospel can still be applied today.”
You also need to know: “Spiritual wealth is worth far more than earthly wealth.” Passing this on to our own children is the most important gift we can ever give them: “To give them Jesus Christ is the greatest way we can express our love for them.”
This also includes the idea that we need to be more considerate and careful with our natural resources. “Also this is an expression of our love for God and our neighbour.”
2. Contributing to unity
The Chief Apostle said that Jesus wants His disciples to be one, as He is one with His Father. The unity of the church is to be an image of the Trinity. This is how the first Christians managed to overcome the centuries-old cultural divide between Jews and Gentiles.
“We can do that too,” he said. It is a matter of putting aside our own interests and serving the common good. “Let us contribute to this no matter what.” Each member in the congregation has a different gift and a different mission. But: “All have the same value before God, and that should also be the case for us.”
3. Personal development
“The Holy Spirit does not change the situation,” the Chief Apostle emphasised. “The Holy Spirit changes us. He helps us to develop the new creation within us. Let us allow Him to work within us.”
Eventually, there will also be a change in the coronavirus situation, and divine services can resume: “Should everything remain as it was before? We have the unique chance to change something: once I am back in my congregation, I want to be a different person.”
The divine service concluded with an international virtual choir and orchestra singing and playing along to the hymn 'What a friend we have in Jesus'. Members who missed this historic event, or for those who want to rewatch it, please click on the following link to find the video: https://nac.today/en/158039/840260.
Author: Andreas Rother
Photos: Marcel Felde and Natalie Simon