29 February 2024 at 19:48:00 JST

Easter is coming up … and the divine services in March point the way there. There will be talk about mercy and solidarity, fellowship and the rule of God, and examples and precursors. Here is a glimpse at the Passiontide.



God’s mercy reaches into heaven. This well-known declaration of faith from Psalm 57: 10 will be the focus on the first Sunday in March. God’s care for humankind is characterised by kindness, care, and mercy. And He always keeps His promises.


God’s kindness is at work both here on earth and in the realm of the dead through word and sacrament. There will be more on this on Sunday, the first divine service for the departed of 2024.



Solidarity both ways

On the second Sunday, the sermon will focus on the Suffering Servant of God, of whom Isaiah spoke. In Christian tradition, the Suffering Servant of God refers to Jesus. On top of His physical pain, Jesus was despised, disregarded, and rejected.


Jesus experienced everything that human beings also experience. To follow Him is to suffer with Him. This is not a question of constantly looking at our own suffering or difficulties, or dwell on them, but … This is what the sermon will explain on 10 March.



Fellowship with the Lord

The next step on our way to Easter is: “The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it.” Not only the first epistle of Corinthians tells us about the institution of Holy Communion, but also the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.


With the institution of Holy Communion before His arrest, Jesus laid the foundation for true fellowship with Himself and with one another until His return. Repeated participation in this sacrament makes us aware of a future that consists of eternal fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


These and other aspects of Holy Communion are explored on the third Sunday in March.



Reigning in our hearts

Jesus is King. This is the message of Palm Sunday. We know that His kingdom is not of this world. He wants to lead humankind into the kingdom of God, into His peace and glory.


To do so, Jesus wants to rule in the hearts of the believers. In this way, they can become more and more like Him. And at His return, such people will be able to enter His kingdom.



The model for models

The service on Good Friday will focus on an observer: three gospels mention a Roman centurion who was standing near the cross and witnessed what happened when Jesus died. In the end, it was this Gentile who recognised: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15: 39)


What impressed the centurion was the self-control, prayer, faithfulness, assurance, and love of Jesus for His neighbour. Those who follow the example of Jesus can also help their fellow human beings come to believe.



When morning dawns

Finally, the morning of the resurrection dawns: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,” Apostle Paul summarises in the first epistle to the Corinthians, referring to the faith of the early Christian churches.


For him, as for people today, this was only the beginning. Because the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the guarantee of the resurrection of those who follow Him. And this is how believers lead a life based on hope in the resurrection.


Author: Andreas Rother


nac.today: New Apostolic Church International

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