Zurich. A special offer in difficult times: Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider will personally conduct the divine service on Easter Sunday—and it will be transmitted around the world for the benefit of all Church members. It was his desire to address the believers personally, he said.
Easter Sunday is the most significant event in the Christian calendar. Easter without a divine service is inconceivable. Although none of our members around the word can actually assemble for divine services in these difficult days as a result of the corona crisis, there are some creative solutions. For example, this festive divine service on Easter Sunday will also be sent around the world by web-stream, albeit without a customary congregation – just a very small group of helpers will be around – and without Holy Communion. However the service will include a Bible reading, the Lord’s Prayer, and the absolution.
A divine service without a congregation—for everyone
The Chief Apostle made it clear that the New Apostolic Church will adhere to the directives of the health authorities. The objective of curfews and social distancing is to slow the spread of the pandemic and contain it. “Nevertheless, it is important to me that the believers still have the opportunity to celebrate the feast of Easter in fellowship, despite all of these circumstances,” stressed the Church leader, “even if every household must do this for themselves. In consultation with the District Apostles he has thus decided to expand the divine service on Easter Sunday into a special event: it will be an international divine service conducted by the Chief Apostle himself. The overall responsibility for its technical implementation will lie with the Bischoff publishers. Several experts have already advised him that the existing technical equipment in the publishing house will certainly suffice to execute a global transmission without any disturbances.
As long as nothing gets in the way, this means that all New Apostolic Christians will have the opportunity to see and hear their Church leader live, or later in the day as a delayed recording. Whether our members participate by live-stream, on YouTube, by telephone transmission, via IPTV, or by way of the Church-owned television channel NAC TV, there has never been an international congregation of this magnitude to date in the history of the New Apostolic Church.
Divine services give us courage
Particularly in times like these that have been brought on by the current corona crisis, the Church leader considers it fundamentally important to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Above all others, this event in particular testifies of the omnipotence of God, as well as of the presence of the Son of God among mankind. The celebration of Easter is thus to be a “feast of comfort and of hope: Jesus Christ has the power to keep the promise He has made!”
In his interview on 21 March 2020, Chief Apostle Schneider made it clear that trust in God is needed more than ever now: “Let us remain firm in our love for God. The Lord will always find a special way to help those who love Him. The promise remains: all things—even the corona crisis—work together for the salvation of those who love God.” He shared that he himself lives in an area that has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic. Not only can he infer from the news that people are suffering, but “I experience this very concretely in daily life.”
Learning from one another to have faith
At the same time, however, he also recalled the plight of hundreds of thousands of people in Africa, who have to live in refugee camps, as well as the displaced brothers and sisters in different parts of the world who can practically never celebrate a divine service together. Beyond that, incidents of Christian persecutions are on the rise around the world: people are being killed just for standing up in public for their faith in Jesus Christ. All of these things make him very sad, he said: “However, I do not say these things in order to downplay the corona crisis. Quite the contrary: I only want to call upon all of us to learn from our brothers and sisters who have to live under such conditions in these countries. How,” he asks himself, “are they able to remain so strong despite all of these trials? Because they are deeply rooted in Christ. Their love for the Lord—that is their secret!” In a crisis such as this, we become aware that the kinds of things that were still of great importance to us a few weeks ago have suddenly become totally unimportant. “Today the most important thing for us is to preserve our relationship with Christ!”
We will provide further information in good time regarding the technical details for receiving the Easter divine service with Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider.
28 March 2020