Gospel

What makes the church attractive today?

Pentecost thoughts about the power of the Gospel

 

1. What makes the church UNattractive today? Pentecost is the birthday of the church. However nowadays many people already start to bury the church here, in Europe. There are centuries old churches which became practically empty, priests make series of funerals instead of baptisms, there are many directionless congregations... I have collected some recently published reports in my essay. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

2. What do we, people think can make the church attractive today? A lot of solutions have been created to address the current problems of the European church. I quote some of them in my essay. All these are remarkably respectable points and suggestions. However the Essence of the European Church’s renewal is missing from them. What is this Essence? The third, closing part of my essay will write about this. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

3. What does make the church REALLY attractive today? What would like to see the young people in the church to attract them? They would like to see credibility. "Deep relationships are needed between the authentic adult servants and the youth." "Young people would like to have a relationship, an example and such a faith that means not only a Sunday morning program but can serve as a help in their challenging everyday life." (David Kinnaman) Credibility is not arisen from us. Credibility is an undistorted transmission of the Holy Spirit’s power through us. The church of Europe needs depth instead of wideness. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

 

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In how many ways can we be happy about the totality of life?

Thoughts about the thousand faces of joy

 

 

1. Our "own" pleasures. In everyone’s life the moment comes at different times and in different ways when he starts to feel something about that he lives in the middle of a huge ocean of love – that he has not noticed so far. Realizing this is an unutterably big source of joy. It is a beautiful feeling when already here, in our Earthly lives sometimes we can feel or experience something about the Holy Trinity’s loving relationship. The joy of the archetypal woman is an immanent joy that discovers the infinity of God in the heart’s innermost totality. The joy of the archetypal man is a transcendent joy that is poured out and discovers the infinity of God in the beauty of the whole world. Both of them start from the same place and arrive at the same place. Just in different ways. This is one of the miracles of the creation. We can also experience the joy of God’s persistence during our Earthly lives. Mutual commitment, the joy of faithfulness; serenity: the joy of safety and understanding; hope: the joy of Providence and working of the Holy Spirit all are such silent joys that are much deeper and much more complete than the joys of individual events flaring up. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay published here.)

 

2. The joys of Totality’s foretastes. Among the joys of encounters with God’s love the joy of God’s Word stands first. The Word of God is not a dead letter. The Word of God speaks in the depth of our souls by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God always fulfils what it has declared. (It is worth thinking about this sentence for a while. The most important events of our lives depend on whether we understand this sentence or not.) When our encounters with the Holy Trinity’s love get more regular, we become more and more capable of seeing ourselves and everybody around with the gracious eyes of God. When these meetings will get even more regular, we will see the Face of Jesus in front of us. The Face of Jesus is not a precisely seen image but a radiation. It is the beam of the Glory of God projected on us in Christ. We delight in it, and we bathe in it. Peace, love and serenity fulfills us that we all radiate in our surroundings. This is the joy of being blessed. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay published here)

 

 

 

3. The joys of Totality. In the Kingdom of God the boundaries of the individual disappear. All that we have been guessing "by the mirror obscurely" so far (1Corinthians 13:12), we will see and know. God, the persistence of the world’s essence, is not noise but Silence. He is not a range of galloping events but timelessness. He is not a set of bonds but undistorted purity. God’s timeless, pure Silence is not empty. This Silence is full of love and the energy radiating His love around. God’s Silence is filled with the Glory of God. The highest level of joy is bathing in the Glory of God and spreading It all around. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay published here.)

 

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Cross and glory

Good Friday/Easter thoughts about the totality of salvation

 

1. Good Friday: The Path of the Cross – understandings and misunderstandings. Christ’s Cross stands in the center of Christian faith, in the middle of our hearts. Still: we are unable to understand the scandal of the Cross. Human thought is very much limited and simplifying. We think: If something is that majestic like Jesus, it cannot be humiliated. When we feel that "something is wrong" with the serial scandals of Jesus we actually feel that there is something wrong with ourselves because we are still not able to stand in front of Jesus and look at the beautiful Totality of His Face, Cross and judgment. With everything. With anything. With Him. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Good Friday essay published here.)

 

2. Holy Saturday: The beauty of the Silence of mourning. It is silence on Holy Saturday. Is this silence frightful? Is it the silence of the absence of Jesus? No, it is not! It is the silence of hope, expectation and our internal communion with Jesus. The Silence of the Holy Saturday is the Silence of God’s Totality and Purity reflected in Jesus. Good Friday is the occasion to face ourselves, while Holy Saturday is the time for immerse in ourselves. Let’s feel as we approach the core of our existence: the power of the resurrection’s Gospel that rewrites everything. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Good Friday essay published here.)

 

3. Easter: The Glory of resurrection. According to the Greek Orthodox thinking Christ suffers for us on the Cross in every moment. Let us experience this as the inconceivable pain of the Father above the Cross, the suffering of Christ on the Cross and the heartbreaking pain of Holy Mary under the Cross are becoming unified. Let us experience the dignity of that the Father does not stamp the Creation but opens the direct Path to Himself as the tapestry of the Sanctuary of the Jerusalem Church is ripped apart (Matthew 27:51a). The covenant is made once and for all: the Father has become the Father of us all to whom we all can turn to – by Jesus and for Jesus – in a first name basis. Let us experience the beauty of resurrection! Let our hearts also resurrect from their dead and let them revive, live a new life that is Eternal! Let us ask for it together with the psalmist: "One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple." (Psalms 26:4). Our prayer in the Psalms has been fulfilled: the fact of resurrection is unchangeable, irrevocable and eternal. Hallelujah! Amen. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Good Friday essay published here.)

 

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The difference between hope and expectations

Lenten thoughts about the power of faith

 

 

1. A life of expectations is a trap. A lot of people adjust their lives to the expectations of their environment. In most of the cases the expected benefit of fulfilling the expectations is gaining acceptance, sympathy and love. In our human world love quite often becomes the means of emotional blackmailing. The most dangerous expectations are those, which we have of ourselves. The distance between our expectations and reality is not anything else but the pain in ourselves. We should not consider our life goals as expectations but as desires. A man free of expectations remains self-identical. However, it is much more valuable even than this, if we do not link our desires to specific things but we let them out and long for the good in general. Longing for the good in general is hope.  (If you would like to read more about this, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

2. The power of hope. Nowadays it is not trendy to hope. Despite of this: hope is much more than desire. Hope doesn’t wish to reach a certain goal but to increase good. Hope creates the possibility of good’s infinity in our lives. Hope delivers us from the slavery of specific goals because it breaks the wall of our egos with what is stronger than anything else in this world: the love of God. (If you would like to read more about this, please, read my essay here.)

 

3. Why is faith much more than hope? Faith is the total and unequivocal certainty in the Gospel of redemption and resurrection. That’s why faith becomes a huge power. Because faith breaks down the walls between us and God. If we live in faith, God bathes us in Himself with showering joy and shows us new and new colors of His Totality and love each day. As our faith develops, it slowly shapes the Face and Figure of God’s only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ in us. This is how hope becomes reality. (If you would like to read more about this, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

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