Zurich/Vienna. In general Christianity, Pentecost is understood to be the birthday of the church. However, this must also be demonstrated within each individual in their joy and enthusiasm for the gospel in daily life, admonished Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in the Pentecost service in Vienna, Austria.
New Apostolic Christians around the world bore witness to the divine service in the Vienna Concert Hall by satellite and internet transmission. “For us, Pentecost is a celebration of special significance,” said the Church leader as he began the eagerly anticipated divine service. At that time, the Apostles were so filled with the power of the Holy Spirit that they began to speak in other languages such that everyone was able to understand them. “That is also how it should be today,” stressed Chief Apostle Schneider. He appealed to his brothers and sisters to likewise speak the language of their neighbour today.
Learning to understand young people
With a view to coming generations in particular it is important to learn to understand young people, he said. This requires us to first listen to them. Only then can anyone succeed in developing genuine empathy for their cares and needs. “Let us share their fears, suffering, and even joys with them.” Only then can we tell them what is truly at the core of the gospel, namely redemption by God.
Often it is the case that young people no longer attend the divine services after their confirmation. “Let us explain to them in their own language how important the gift of the Holy Spirit—with which they have been sealed—really is.” Their sealing is a profession that must grow. Here it is of no use to create the impression that the world is going under or to emphasise how terrible life on this earth is. “Let us not prescribe to them what they must do or refrain from doing. That is definitively not their language.” Rather, it is a question of explaining to our children and young people that their faith will help them become inwardly strong. “Preaching and lots of talking will not suffice. This will not convince anyone. We must live this in practice. That is our task around the world,” emphasised the Chief Apostle urgently.
Effects of the Holy Spirit today
Prior to that, the Church leader listed the various effects that the gift of the Holy Spirit can generate within us:
- a kind of calm composure in the knowledge that “our heavenly Father will look after us.
- strong gratitude in the recognition that “God has done great things upon us.”
- watchfulness in the present, knowing “that we have not been separated from God, despite all the things we may have to experience.”
- special joy in the knowledge that “the glory of God” waits for us in the future.
- love for all human beings, such that we can “love others the way Jesus did—if only we want to!”
The District Apostle Meeting and the global congregation
This year the Pentecost weekend led Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider to Vienna. In the days leading up to this event, the city played host to an International District Apostle Meeting which was attended by all District Apostles and District Apostle Helpers from around the world. The most important topics of discussion in this assembly included the latest deliberations in the Church’s conception of ministry and the new instruction materials for children.
The Pentecost divine service on Sunday was transmitted by satellite and internet to over 100 countries on five continents. Many hundreds of thousands of members witnessed the service live in their congregations. Including those participants in some African countries who witnessed the broadcast live on state television and the congregations in North and South America who watched a delayed transmission of the service, the total number of viewers around the world was in the millions.
You can read more articles on Pentecost on the website of the New Apostolic Church magazine nac.today.