For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life. — Romans 5:10
This was the text used by Apostle Page when he conducted the divine service for the departed at Midrand Congregation in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 2 March 2014. The overall message of the divine service was to not be an enemy of God, but to be a friend, but also to move beyond friendship where we use our faith to cultivate eternal life. It is also important to see life with our spiritual eyes, and not our natural eyes, as seeing things with our spiritual eyesight is the stepping stone to our eternal future. (A more in-depth account of the service will follow shortly)
Within the New Apostolic Church (NAC), divine services for the departed take place three times a year, on the first Sunday of March, July, and November respectively. With this in mind, New Apostolic Christians also pray that souls who have died in an unredeemed state may find salvation in Jesus Christ.
God’s will to redeem encompasses all human beings. One can read in Romans 14: 9, Jesus Christ is Lord over both the dead and the living; and in 1 Corinthians 15: 29 that already in the congregation of Corinth, the living were baptised on behalf of the dead.
This practice is continued in divine services for the departed conducted by the Chief Apostle and the District Apostles: in them, two ministers receive Holy Baptism with water, Holy Sealing, and Holy Communion on behalf of the dead. The sacraments are performed in the same manner as usual. In the other congregations, the departed are commemorated in a special prayer after the celebration of Holy Communion.
Divine services for the departed have an important place in the New Apostolic calendar. On the preceding Sunday, the congregations prepare themselves for this in a special divine service. Compassion and sympathy are to move their hearts to intercede for those who have died in an unredeemed state.
Below are some of the images taken before, during and after the service held at Midrand Congregation.