Two dead and the “Kirchentag” (Church Congress)

It extends to everything – but misses the main thing

The “Evangelische Kirchentag“ (German Church Congress) is over and even though it is the Luther Year, the number of attendees disappointed.  The programme covered all possible aspects of society, of world peace and of the environment.  Wonderful, but it that the true reason for such a mega Christian get together?  The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung lamented yesterday in an article about the self-secularisation of the church and speaks about the “religious weakness of Christianity in Germany”.

In the past few years we have had two instances of suicide in our circle of acquaintances.  In both cases the death wish of the persons in question, who were convinced atheists, was not due to an insidious illness or a broken love-relationship, no, but the fact that they could no longer make any sense of what life on earth is really about.  As they found no answer to the question: “What makes my life worth living?” they decided to exit completely.

Why does the man on the cross play only a minor role at big evangelical events?  People seem not to be able to give two hoots about the fact out of love God became human, was born in a manger in order that he might redeem us.  The empty tomb with its electrifying hope of eternal life does not seem to even make it on stage. Tragic!

Have the leaders of the church totally lost their belief in the cross and the resurrection?  Jesus Christ says: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26).  Of course we live active Christian lives and have treated hundreds of thousands of indigenous mountain people with love and dedication at Diospi Suyana.  But our confession of faith does not consist solely of good deeds.  No, we are far more convinced that both a Quechua Indian in Peru and a businessman in Germany need peace with God and the forgiveness of their sins.  Only then can we find guidance, comfort and security in our faith.  No one should forget the next world while living here on this one.

If churches become a social club they become yawningly empty.  Those churches who preach about the reality of God and his love are filled like sold-out rock concerts.  The church dignitaries in Germany could learn loads from the inspired Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin-America, if they really wanted to.

Surely many more people will despair at the perceived meaninglessness of a life without God.  It is our duty to tell everyone that the risen Christ is only a prayer away.  He can fill the void in our souls and quench our thirst for life.  On the day when the “Evangelische Kirchentag” puts its focus back on this message all of us will have to get up before the cock crows to get a seat in the church./KDJ

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