God Sees Under the Surface

2017. május 17., szerda

On April 8, 2017, International Roma Day, many people gathered together in the Reformed Church in Káposztásmegyer for a day of common prayer– a mixture of 360 congregation members, pastors, experts, and volunteers. The participants came from 36 different congregations, as well as from the Reformed Roma Collegium and Debrecen Reformed Theological University.

Since 2014, the Prayer Days of the Roma mission have been in the Reformed Church in Káposztásmegyer, a modern and homelike church. Year by year the group gets bigger, the community is more colorful, and the commitment towards faith is stronger than before.

The Preview of Heaven

András Gér, RCH General Secretary, mentioned Psalm 149 in his greeting, saying, “Praise the LordLord. Sing to the LordLord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.” This psalm shows a preview of heaven. After András Gér talked about the Psalm, a praise band from the churches of Zemplén immediately put the words into practice through a well-known song inspired by Roma music.

Péter Bakay, a Lutheran Pastor, welcomed the participants in the name of the collaboration of the Protestant Roma Mission. "The Protestant collaboration doesn’t mean that we have to become the same. We are different and don’t need to become part of the mass, all the same. There is a common point and that’s the only thing that matters in God’s country,” said Bakay.

Dr. Judit Kármán Szabóné, who is the Head of the Department of Romology at Debrecen Reformed Theological University, welcomed participants with the days  motto – “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplatethe Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). She added that in the quote Paul refers to the history of Moses, who was on Mount Sinai for forty days with God’s manifested presence. After he received the commandments he came down with a shining face. It was so bright he had to cover it. She had a similar experience when she first went to a Christian community filled with young people. She didn’t really understand anything the first time because she didn’t know the Scripture, but she liked how enthusiastic the participants were and their faces were shining from happiness. "Even now the participants have this face," she added.

Without Covers

Eszter Dani, a Reformed Pastor and the Head of the RCH Mission Office, spoke about changing. We are changing throughout our lives, we admire how a toddler walks or speaks and grows. We, who come back to this Prayer Day every year, see something in each other's changing. But this is just on the surface, on the outside. God sees us deeper, "with uncovered face,” as we read in the Word. But how did the cover come to us in the first place? It was Adam and Eve's shame that caused them to cover themselves.

Since then, we can’t bear God's close presence. We can think of the shepherds in the Bethlehem story because when the angel appeared, they were afraid of it. But God always says to us, "Don’t be afraid!" He sees through us. He sees our fears, our failures, and our faults. In spite of all these, he still loves us.

“There is no cover that is able to separate us from God’s love, because Jesus washed our sins away when he was crucified. If we ask for God’s forgiveness and accept it, God will see us clean,” said Eszter Dani.

She added that, “If we accept and believe in this our face will start to shine. That happened in Kárpátalja, when the rural Roma congregation started.” Others started to go there because they saw the glory of God on the people’s faces and, “it doesn’t matter who is Roma and who isn’t”.

A Will

After the preaching came the main event of the day – the common prayer. Along with the eight major topics, those in attendance prayed together for the awakening and the reconciliation of Roma and non-Roma. Guests then made small groups and listened to each other's prayers, praying both for themselves and for others around them.

God Comes When we are Suffering

After lunch, the group listened to testimonies. The first was Dénes Gyirgyó, who came from the Roma Mission in Esztár. Dénes has been with the Lord for four years, but before this he laughed at the Roma community. When God addressed him at an event in Kecskemét, his life changed and Dénes is now proud that he is a Calvinist.

The guests were the healed clients and a co-worker of Kallódó Ifjúságot Mentő Misszió (KIMM) on the Prayer Day. Some of them came with a guitar and a song while others shared their story. One of the youngest guests, 15-year-old Gergő, came to the Home in Ráckeresztúr because he was an active drug user for three years. In Ráckeresztúr, a teen rehabilitation center was opened couple of years ago, because Gergő's case is not unique in the region.

“God comes near to us when we are suffering so that we can shout to Him clearly,” said Csaba Burai, who used to be addicted to gambling. He came to Ráckeresztúr in 2005, and right now he is one of the workers in the Home.

We are Formal for the Wedding

"Have you ever had a really good wedding that doesn’t end after one night, but it can last for two to three days?" asked Szabina Sztojka. The theological student talked about how wonderful of an invitation we have where, "The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life."(Revelation 22:17). This wedding isn’t for three days, but for eternity, and it doesn’t offer the drink of wine, but from Jesus' life. God invites us to this wedding, and if we have tasted something of this, we will continue to share this invitation with others, because at the Lamb's wedding everybody can come, and it doesn’t matter if they are Roma or not.

 

Article by Illés Molnár

Translated by Viktória Fülöp

Edited by Kearstin Bailey

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