As we come to the end of these four days of meetings, testimonies, thematic impulses, revelations, shared love, joy to see the many gifts and charisms involved for God and his Reign, our hearts are full of gratitude.
Who among us has received a pearl, an idea, a new thought concerning the "transmission" during these 4 days?
Hallelujah, we realize it is a privilege to be here. But much more than this is a privilege to be part of the biggest project of all time: our participation in the Reign of Jesus, here at home and where the Lord, by his Holy Spirit, equips us again and again.
The Reign of Jesus, we are all very aware of it, does not begin now, here and with us or our generation.
What we experienced these four days is a continuation of what God has been doing for centuries.
With us Mennonites of course, but far beyond, with all the Christians who confess Jesus, for almost 2000 years.
God is coherent and his project is taking shape. His network, his people, yes his family is setting up to prepare his return, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see him and fills our hearts with a happy waiting.
This morning, when you arrived, you received a small piece of wood. Maybe you have it in your hand, maybe you've already put it in your bag. This modest piece of wood, I offer it to you with pleasure. This is an illustration of my sharing this morning. It represents a witness.
You know the witness that we use in a relay race. You have certainly already seen races, either in real life or on your screen - athletes, often highly trained physically and technically, run on a distance of 4x400 meters and "pass the witness" ...
Without being a specialist in the field, one thing is certain and we experienced it with our Swiss teams in recent years, the "Passing of the witness" is a crucial moment.
You see, you can be overtrained physically, can have the best food and even, you can achieve an excellent race, if you miss the passage of the witness, it will be difficult to win the victory in that race.
I have good news for each and every one of us this morning - Jesus chose to trust men and women to
accomplish what He had begun.
The greatest project of all time, the coming of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of love, compassion, power and healing, yes a Kingdom characterized by the sharing of good and great news, that of
the gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
But you will receive strength when the Holy Spirit comes down on you. You will then be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the world. "
Hallelujah, what power in this passage of the witness of God himself, in Jesus Christ and by the equipment of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ could have done without his disciples. Probably better and more effective, but glory to God, HE CHOOSES to pass the witness to these disciples.
"You will be my witnesses"
So a thought about the modest piece of wood that you have in the hand this morning:
"Your life, which is present this morning" is part of the testimony of the disciples that Jesus wants to equip and send out to talk about him and his Reign.
But what strength, what joy and what meaning can I receive there in my life. I am a witness.
In the original Greek, and this reflects our Anabaptist history and the history of many Christians today elsewhere in the world, "you will be then my martyrs "- powerful witnesses:
- Spectator of a thing, an event - witness
- Models that have proven the strength and authenticity of their faith in supporting - the martyrs
We hear it in this Word of this morning, but we heard it during these four days: the project of the missionary witness of the presence of God on earth continues - and you are concerned. And you are concerned, because you ARE A WITNESS.
Every generation of disciples lives his testimony. Christian involvement, whether it be social, humanitarian, missionary, hi-tech, economic or still ecological reflects what we understand from God, by the Holy Spirit.
Every generation, its mission. Each generation, its responsibility to transmission of the legacy of the good news.
This is my second thought regarding transmission.
Privilege and responsibility to "pass the witness", where the Lord invites us to live it.
Look at this witness that you have in your hand, who will you pass it to? To whom will you "pass the witness" of the Good News.
Jesus invites us: and he starts from the heart to the extremes: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and even to Montbeliard and at the end of the earth.
We welcomed the heritage of faith because it was given to us. We received testimony from our parents, one of our friends, maybe even an evangelist in the street: now it's up to us to hand over the
Who are you going to hand over the witness to? In your prayer, your listening to the Spirit Holy, from what God is saying to you and to your generation, to whom will you pass the witness?
To hand over the witness means to communicate, to transmit, to entrust the Good news of the Gospel.
The transmission of the Gospel of the Good News to our families and in our surroundings.
I make the choice to give a few minutes of my message this morning to two people, two women of God around me:
Maude Burkhalter-Sollberger, daughter of Christian Sollberger.
Hello everyone, my name is Maude and I'm 21 years old. I think the family is the first place where the Gospel is transmitted. Throughout my childhood and my adolescence, I had the opportunity to get to know God, to ask questions, to think for myself about the things of the Bible and of faith.
Today I am grateful to have chosen to follow Jesus, to love him with all my heart and to entrust my life to him. My family was my first church, the one where I grew up and where I discovered my own faith. At home, from an early age, reading the Bible, prayer, praise, prayer for the sick, intercession has been central to my daily life.
And yet, faith is a personal theme. My parents can not take the decision for me. Once I heard the message of salvation and the gospel, Jesus addressed me directly and knocked on the door
from my heart. I am grateful to have had the choice, and above all, to have chosen life.
To all the parents who are here, you are the first examples of your children. Your way of talking to God, your way of responding to the difficulty, your attitude, the words you use, your actions towards one and another, there are so many elements that mark the spirit and memory of your child. Before even hearing the message of Jesus and his Gospel, I had the opportunity to see the life of faith of my parents, with ups and downs, but a genuine life of faith, and when the question of faith has come to me, it is the image of faith that my parents have transmitted that came to mind.
I was loved by my family and today I know that God loves me. I have been respected in my family, and today I know that God desires to honor me, listen to me and have a relationship with me. I have been protected by my family and today I know that God will take care of me, no matter.
I have never been abandoned by my family, and today I know that God will never leave me alone. I was valued by my family, and today I know that God sees in me a woman of value and that I am precious to him.
I thank God for growing up in a Christian family, and most of all I thank you for letting me choose my life, a life in abundance.
Lina Rashid - Syrian woman resident of Tavannes - involved in the Mennonite Evangelical Church of Tavannes (BE)
Hello, my name is Lina, I'm from Afrin, Syria and I'm in Switzerland since 2008. When I came here, I did not really know Jesus.
One day I was in the playground with my children and one person approached me and invited me to church. The first time I came to the church, I was touched, I felt something in my heart.
I heard about Jesus and I thought he was a prophet, little I knew. But in church I heard that Jesus is the son of God, that he is God the Father and also the Holy Spirit.
At first it was difficult for me to believe that he is the son of God, yet my heart felt attracted to Jesus. So I prayed a lot and I said Jesus: "If you are the son of God, and you are alive, I want to see you, you have to show yourself! So, Jesus spoke to me in a dream. I saw a Bible and a man dressed all in white who said to me, "Follow me, I am the way, truth and life. At that moment, I believed in Jesus and I gave him all my life, I wanted to live for him. And I began to pray for my family who is still in Syria in a very difficult situation. And God has done great miracles.
Once I accepted Jesus in my heart, I committed myself to him. I went to meetings around the Bible, I commit myself to Arabic speaking cults, I like to meet people and I take care of a clothes exchange shop. I am also involved in the Al Massira course with my family and I sing in praise. The first time I translated a message at an Arabic speaking worship, it was difficult but God made a
miracle for me, I'm so grateful, I never thought that that was my place.
To live without God is difficult. I think all the time about Jesus, that I am happy or sad, I tell him every night thank you many times.
It is a choice, the passage of the witness is now.
In your family AND in your surroundings ...
Other people, men or women, migrant or young, rich or poor, labourer or intellectual - think of the people around you - are invited to receive YOUR TESTIMONY, your witness ... to enter their vocation: to love the Reign of peace of Jesus Christ and serve him ...
You see, behind this little piece of wood that is in your hand - there is a powerful testimony of what God has already done and still wants to do in your life ...
What a privilege to have lived these four days here.
The Holy Spirit continues to equip us and send us - for the sole glory of Jesus Christ.