March 2015: Where there’s smoke…

…there’s fire. So goes a familiar proverb which refers to the simple fact that one can, as a rule, judge an underlying reality by its outward manifestations. For example, if you make your way through the deepest forest, then smoke is an unmistakable sign that there must be people in the vicinity. Wherever there is a fire burning, there must be people!

How can I tell that Jesus is present here, in my congregation? What is it that shows me the presence of Jesus Christ? How can a person—who has, perhaps, never even given a second thought to faith—see that Jesus is active here? This can be perceived by effects that are visibly manifest everywhere that He is truly and genuinely present.

Wherever Jesus is, there will be peace, there will be love, and there will be unity. That is how one can recognize His presence. Wherever Jesus is present, understanding, forgiveness, and reconciliation will prevail. Wherever Jesus is present, one will bear the burden of the other. One can already see that Jesus is present in the way people deal with one another there. In such a place there will be no need for any longwinded explanations. There people will realize very quickly: here there is peace! Here there is love! Here there is understanding! Jesus is here! If we want to show that Jesus is in our presence, we must prove that peace, grace, love, and unity prevail in our ranks. Anything else would amount to nothing more than empty words.

When we think about this for a moment, we will immediately realize what our task is: “Whatever my place in the congregation, I want to ensure that all can see Jesus is here!”

Thoughts from a divine service by the Chief Apostle

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