Cape Town. District Apostle Noel Barnes expressed it best after the divine service: “I may not be able to look into the future, but I believe that this will remain a unique event for us in Cape Town!” The Pentecost service had just come to an end. Some 1.2 million believers had been able to participate in it live, either by satellite or internet transmission. Four thousand of these had been seated in the congregation of Tafelsig, the largest New Apostolic Church building in the world.
“I wish all of you a blessed feast of Pentecost and a wonderful day filled with joy and power,” said Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber, the international Church leader, as he greeted the large Pentecost assembly. On this occasion he stood behind the altar in the congregation of Tafelsig, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. He was accompanied by 341 Apostles of the New Apostolic Church, who had gathered from all parts of the world over the days preceding Pentecost for an International Apostle Meeting.
Pentecost greeting from Hebrews 12: 1
In accordance with the decades-long tradition of the New Apostolic Church, Chief Apostle Leber started out by reading the Pentecost greeting. For this he chose a Bible passage from Hebrews 12: 1: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” He called this a “special message for everyone, and good counsel for our time.” After all, said the Church leader, “there are many things that we can lay aside: disappointment, burdens, cares, and in short, all things that seek to rob us of our joy and peace. This is not always easy, but with the power of the Holy Spirit it is possible.” He also went on to add: “Laying something aside doesn’t mean that it suddenly disappears—but it no longer depresses us!”
Then the Chief Apostle looked into the ranks of the children, and reminded the young participants in the service about the historical feast of Pentecost. Concerning this, Holy Scripture relates that “they were all with one accord in one place” (cf. Acts 2: 1). “What does this mean for us?” asked the Chief Apostle, “Let us keep the peace among one another and then we will experience our God.”
Being witnesses for the Lord
Last of all, Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber—who begins his sixth year as Church leader with this Pentecost—came to speak about the actual Bible text at the heart of this divine service. Acts 1: 8 likewise makes reference to the power of the Holy Spirit: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The Chief Apostle began his interpretation of this text by stating that he wanted to especially emphasise the aspect of divine “power”. “It is my wish that this power may become even more evident within us,” he said. “After all, we all need such power in order to preserve our faith, remain joyful, and look into the future filled with the joy of hope. We all need power in order to avoid going under in the daily matters of life!”
“A good recipe for possessing this power is to ask the Lord for it,” recommended the Church leader. “Let us pray for this power daily! With it we will also be prepared to be a witness for the Lord. I will speak for all of us: let us be witnesses!”
Three hundred forty-one Apostles from around the world
After the divine service, the Chief Apostle asked all the Apostles to stand, in order of the continents where they are active. It was an impressive picture, which led the hosting District Apostle to exclaim: “This will remain a unique event for us in Cape Town!”
You can read further impressions from the Pentecost weekend on the website of the New Apostolic Church Cape. There we have also posted this year’s Pentecost greeting along with a summary of other retrospectives on Pentecost services from past years.
More photos and texts to follow!