THOUGHTS FROM CHIEF APOSTLE SCHNEIDER
Service for the Departed
The dead in Christ and those who are living in Christ are of one and the same congregation; they are part of the Lord's work of redemption. Faithful children of God who have gone before us into the other world are, like us, justified through faith and included in the fellowship with the Lord. Like us, they continue to prepare themselves for Jesus' return by receiving the word and Holy Communion dispensed during divine services conducted on earth. Freed from the physical body, their soul and spirit live in a state of security and peace.
The fact that they are happy in the other world does not mean that they have forgotten their loved ones who still live on earth. The peace that fills them results from:
- God's consolation, which offsets the pain of separation;
- their trust in God - they know that God loves and cares for their loved ones.
The faithful no longer need to believe in life after death since they experience it. However, they must continue to exercise faith as we do, that is to say to have the substance of things hoped for (cf. Heb 11: 1). They must believe in the truth of the gospel, in Christ's victory, in the resurrection of the dead and in the Lord's return. They receive the same teaching as us, taught by the Holy Spirit in the divine services. Their understanding of the past and present, as well as their understanding of the future, is mainly based on the word of God. To save them, the Holy Spirit does not need to reveal to the departed details of the future unknown by the living! Remember in this respect that calling upon the dead is a sin (cf. Deut 18: 11).
To His children, on earth and in the other world, God gave the same commission: to love their neighbour, proclaim salvation in Christ and facilitate their access to it. We do not know how the dead in Christ shall carry out this work, but we believe they are praying for us. From our end, we fulfill our commission on earth and support the departed through our intercessions. And all together, living and dead, we pray: Come, Lord Jesus!