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Salvation of the world

Divine service theme for the month of January: The salvation of the world

The first divine service of the new year will be celebrated on the first Sunday in January. Our motto for the new year will be: “Faithful to Christ”. Our faith to Christ—to the gospel and in following Him—is based on Christ’s faith to His church and His promises.

The theme of the ensuing divine services is “The salvation of the world”. Jesus, whose birth we commemorated on Christmas, is not only the bringer of salvation but the personification of it. Anyone who has fellowship with Jesus Christ has salvation.

On the second Sunday of January we are encouraged to follow Christ. Following Christ should be the defining element in our lives. This includes fighting for our faith in everyday situations, being prepared to suffer with Christ, and ultimately proving ourselves in patience and anticipating the return of Christ actively.

On the third Sunday we will explore the forgiveness of sins, which Jesus Christ made possible through His sacrifice on the cross. Already during His mission on earth Jesus was a forgiver, and He still forgives us today. Our response to this forgiveness is love for Jesus, which manifests itself in our remaining faithful to Him, serving Him, as well as in our readiness to forgive others.

The last Sunday service in January will underline that the miraculous feedings of the multitudes are a reference to word and sacrament. The preaching of the gospel and the sacrament of Holy Communion is the way Jesus feeds the people today. Jesus Christ, who is in heaven, becomes present in divine service in word and sacrament. The experience of Christ’s presence in divine service must, however, not restrict itself to the church service as such. We must take it home with us and incorporate it into our everyday lives and testify of it in word and deed.

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