Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
This week sees the year 2020 finally come to an end. More than in other years our hearts are filled with the hope that with the turning of our calendar pages more than just the month and the year will change.
We all hope and pray that the new year 2021 will bring the kind of liberation many of us long for. Liberation from a Corona-Virus, which is keeping us captive for so many months now – and in so many ways. We place our hopes in the abilities of leaders in our countries and communities, as well as in the skills of scientists and medical workers, to responsibly manage an unprecedented vaccination program.
This situation – while not entirely comparable – may give us at least sense of how the people of Israel must have longed for the Messiahs to arrive. They had hoped for someone to finally come and liberate them from the forces that kept them captive over the centuries – mostly military in nature.
Ironically, when he then finally came it went mostly unnoticed; and were it not for the gospels we would indeed have very little knowledge about the details of the birth of Jesus we just celebrated. However, it is historically undeniable that Jesus of Nazareth lived and died on a cross around 33 AD. So far – so ‘uneventful’.
What however started with Jesus’ ministry didn’t end up becoming a mere treasured memory among his remaining followers. Instead, the gospel literally exploded into history as the Holy Spirit ‘ignited’ the church at Pentecost and it grew with such speed and transformed societies in such fundamental ways that Jesus’ resurrection was and remains the only meaningful explanation.
Ever since have people around the world experienced the liberating power of Jesus Christ. A power that throughout the centuries freed people spiritually while being imprisoned in sick and disabled bodies, besieged by plagues, locked-up in prisons and concentration camps, or enslaved in exploitive forced labor set-ups.
And so, I pray that you all will continue to place your hopes in Christ and experience his liberating power and love in the year ahead. – None of us knows what the Lord has in store for any of us in 2021. However, we can rest assured that this year, too, will be HIS year. That’s why we put AD – Anno Domini – ‘Year of the Lord’, next to the number.
Grace and peace,