Allez les bleus - run, you blue ones. Even if you sometimes have to cheer on the French in soccer, during youth days they naturally set the pace. On arrival on Wednesday and Thursday, the French groups could already be heard from a distance. During the Ascension devine service, they could also be seen to stand out from the crowd: red berets, flower chains in blue-white-red and the tricolore painted on the cheeks or worn as a shoulder cloth.
The Ascension Day was celebrated with devine services at three locations on the exhibition grounds. Hall 8, in which the German-speaking young people met, was so crowded within a few minutes that the IYC leadership organised a transmission to the open-air stage at short notice. Some German youth used this oportunity and visited one of the two halls, where they served, among others, in Spanish, French and English.
Lingala is a special language
The organisers of the IYC had devided the services into groups: The sermon of Apostle Jeannot Leibfried from France was supplemented by ministers from Spain and Portugal, in the German service of Apostle Helge Mutschler one could also experience Russian and in the English service Dutch and Lingala. This language is mainly spoken in the african Congo. And, according to Apostle David Heynes, it is probably one of the most widely spoken languages in the New Apostolic Church (NAC): With about 2.5 million New Apostolic Christians, almost every fourth member of the NAC comes from this country.
Apostle Helge Mutschler preached about the connection between Christ's ascension to heaven and his return. According to the Gospel of John, the Bible passage is a quotation from the resurrected Son of God himself: "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself. (John 12:32)
The motto of the IYC 2019 "Here I am" as a confession of our devotion to God was based precisely on the fact that Jesus Christ had said before "Here I am," Apostle Mutschler began his sermon and added: "Christ is present, he draws us to himself and thus provides for fellowship among Christians and for encounters in divine services. Therein also lies the origin of the hope for the future of Christians who are waiting for the promise of the return of Christ to be fulfilled.
Jesus Christ´s power of attraction
In his sermon, the apostle answered the question with what power Christ wanted to draw people to himself. Jesus does not advertise with promises of money, influence and success, not even with governance - no, only with love. The apostle encouraged those who let themselves be attracted by this love to be an attraction to others in their own surroundings to become active Christians. As long as people move in the force field of divine love, they are also capable of meeting their neighbour in love - just as a piece of iron in the force field of a magnet itself becomes a magnet. "The love of Christ can ensure that his congregation is aligned with him, turns to him and is then drawn to him, the head," says Apostle Mutschler.
Apostle Wolfgang Schug then expressed some thoughts on the subject of the divine service in easy language. In short, simple sentences and at a deliberately slow pace, he described the mood of the disciples after Christ's ascension: "They were sad. They had to say goodbye once before already. Good Friday, when Christ was crucified. And now again!“ But there was also joy. They could experience that Jesus had blessed them.
A minister in a suit and sneakers
One can simply receive the Word of God in such services, but many visitors do more than that. As the ranks fill, conversations arise between strangers. Some Dutch people have hardly arrived in Düsseldorf and got to know a new drink: appletiser, a funny thing, they find. In their homeland, apple juice is only available non-sparkling. In another hall, Germans with half-buried knowledge of French try not to get tangled up in the lyrics of the hymns, while visitors of the English-speaking divine service rejoice at the outfit of the priest from the Congo: he wears white sneakers with his black suit. A young deacon is enthusiastic: "I will try to make this presentable in our congregation from now on".
On such occasions, there is suddenly a conversation between neighbours who hadn't known each other a few minutes before. This is also what the International Youth Day is all about. But above all it is about the Word of God. All young people are called by the Dutch priest to enjoy food, drink and our whole life daily, because it was given to us by God and because we do not know how long we will still have this possibility. The priest from Spain advises the young people to love God as Jesus did.