2024-06-09 - 2. Sonntag nach Trinitatis - (EN) - Jugenddiakonin Julia Bingießer

Ephesians 2,17-22

predigt afrikaans

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. 

Dear confirmands, dear families and friends, dear congregation,

We are here today to celebrate together with the confirmands.

Maybe you can still remember the beginning of our confirmation time? Some of you have known the Johannes congregation for a long time, a few have moved to Pretoria only recently. Some have been going to church regularly; others didn't really know their way around. Maybe you felt like a stranger, you didn't belong because you didn't know what was happening. 

For almost a year we met every week and learned, talked and discussed the basics of our faith. You attended services and you got to know the congregation. We play-acted a church council meeting, read Bible stories and transferred them into our lives ("Am I more Mary or Martha?", "Would I be the Good Samaritan if something happened to someone?"), did creative things and built our houses of worship together. 

What you want, is that this house of faith is safe, does not collapse and has sturdy walls. And that is my wish for you!

During our last confirmation lesson, we talked about the house as a symbol, you thought about what your dream house could look like. Some of you had very specific ideas, a slide from the attic to a ball pool in the basement, others wanted it simply cozy, with plenty of space for sports, gambling, for a pool and large garden. As different as the eight of you are, so are your dream houses. What they have in common, however, is that you don't want to live in them alone. There is room for everyone who is important to you.

The person who wrote the letter to the Ephesians said something similar about the house of God: (Eph 2, 17-22)

17 Christ came and brought his message of peace to all, to you who lived far from God and to all who were close to him.

18 Through Christ, all of us, Jews and non-Jews alike, can now come united in one spirit to God the Father.

19 So you are no longer strangers and homeless; you are now fellow citizens with God's people, even part of his family.

20 As the church of Jesus Christ, you stand on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. But the foundation stone that supports and holds this building together is Jesus Christ himself.

21 Through him the components are firmly connected to each other and grow into a temple of the Lord. 22Because you belong to Christ you too are part of this building in which God dwells by his Spirit.

In Ephesus, as everywhere in the newly founded churches, people are meeting up with very different people from very different social classes with different backgrounds and different languages. People who had previously been Jewish or who had believed in Roman, Greek or completely different gods are now believing in Jesus. They form churches and follow Jesus. The very Jesus who repeatedly broke down social conventions and turned to people who did not conform to the norm; those who were excluded and felt alienated. 

The author of the Letter to the Ephesians says:

Through Jesus, no one is a stranger anymore. Anyone who wants to belong is a part. 

We are part of God's family and thus also a part of God's apartment building. You have described your dream houses as being cheerful, open, peaceful and full of love. That is what God’s house is like. 

As people of God, no matter where you are in the world, you are always part of this house. And you can be part of the church anywhere and find a spiritual home. The one thing that connects Christians with each other is Jesus Christ, the foundation stone that supports and holds together the house of God.

Through your confirmation you are saying: I am ready to be a stone in this house and God is the architect. I am going to let God put me where I am needed. 

I want to be part of the great church. The church that consists of all these people who are held together by their common faith in Jesus Christ. 

I hope you no longer feel like a stranger today, but that you feel that you belong to God's family.

There is a song that has accompanied us since the confirmation camp. Psalm 91 by Ocean and Michael Davis. 

"Yes, because the Lord is my castle

My refuge in distress

My God, in whom I trust

He's the ground I'm walking on

I am welcome in his house

He's the rock I'm building on"

We are under the protection of the Highest, we are welcome in His house, welcome to help build it and to let God use us, and we can be sure:

God's house has solid walls that will stand securely. 

And the peace of God, which is higher than all reason, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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