Over the past year, we have had to face unexpected situations month after month, yet we have experienced that our Heavenly Father has not left us alone. With this in mind, we asked the newly elected Bishops of the Church Districts of RCH about their hope for the year 2021. We wish you a blessed new year with their words of encouragement!
József Steinbach, Bishop of the Transdanubian Church District
Each year we choose a Bible verse which guides us in our service. In 2021, the annual biblical motto says, "Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (Psalms 25:5)
We have hope. Our hope is the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, and him alone, whom we follow as our Savior. He leads us, He walks before us, and our hope is rooted in Him alone. Only the Lord can be the object of our hope. He was our hope last year, only He can it be this year, as well. The bible verse of the year says that those who put their hope in the Lord will receive strength, guidance, right teaching, deliverance and liberation. This hope is complete when we follow Jesus Christ and serve him. This is how hope overcomes our fears. If we just consider our task, we easily grow weary and anxious. I have more and more the experience that organizing things, management tasks and the effort of making our work visible consumes everything.
The Church is the body of Jesus Christ, the messenger of the gospel in this world, and can therefore never be distorted and turned into a institution full of bureaucracy and paragraphs. Whatever we do, we actually do it in following Jesus Christ as His servants. I therefore pray that I will continue to be able to pay attention to the service in the great family of the Transdanubian Reformed people with patience and pastoral love, while keeping in mind that my own congregations and my own family are also a blessed area of my ministry.
Zoltán Balog, Bishop of the Danubian Church District
„God is faithful” (2 Cor. 1:18)
Is there a more significant and a more encouraging message than this? If we have experienced Him at work in our lives so far, and it was good to say yes to His presence and even long for it; if we have accepted what He did in the past, even if it did hurt because He took something we didn’t want to give; if all this is true then there is no better news for us: he will continue to act similarly because He is faithful! And, of course, he also gave us a lot. More than that, He is after all a “giver”, because even when He takes something away from us, he is giving ... God is faithful to himself, to his decision to save us in Jesus Christ, he is faithful to the life He intended for us; He is faithful to us, to our past and our future ...
If this is real, we can trust that even our own unfaithfulness will not ruin his work in our lives. Truly, how often are we unfaithful to Him, and thus to ourselves, not to mention the people entrusted to us… Not only the New Year, but each day offers me the opportunity to look at myself, my relationships, my loved ones, my community and at our church from the perspective of God’s faithfulness.
Let's look at the reality this way, let's look at others around ourselves in 2021 in this spirit more often! That's what I wish for the new year. (Individually and together, in the fellowship of the Hungarian reformed community.)
Károly Fekete, Bishop of the Transtibiscan Church District
First of all, I give thanks to God because He has kept me, and presented me with the opportunity to grow in my personal life, and to also continue my ministry as a Church leader. Recently I came to the insight that we have reached a borderline, a caesura, for the Lord of the Church has initiated the transformation of our church life, we are expected to continue the work. We need to invest more energy in maintaining relationships. Only with a pastoral spirit can we resist and work against the temptation of scattering. We must consciously strengthen unity and community at all levels of our church.
Restored buildings cannot replace internal, spiritual growth. It is a way of evangelizing when we are perceived as humane people and a living community. Jesus Christ came into this world to compel us, people shrinking back too often, to confess that "we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved." (Heb. 10:39) I wish you a blessed peaceful new year full of grace!
Dániel Pásztor, Bishop of the Cistibiscan Church District
The challenging question of the new year is how, in the situation God has put us in, life will continue - and whether it is possible at all for us to continue the life we have lived so far. I came to the answer that it cannot go on as before. God has led this world into His school, where He wants to teach us many things - and one the most important subject is to re-learn how we relate to ourselves and to each other. It was interesting to see how we learned regarding the use of facemasks: we can best protect the other by protecting ourselves - and vice versa.
The zeitgeist, the spirit of the age often seems to teach us that in order to protect myself, I need to override others, but this is not true because each life matters. It is my hope that God will make a difference in our lives and transform us so that we recognize each other’s true values, but also appreciate the life and time we have received from Him. I hope that our time of learning in God’s school will continue, and what we have been able to learn so far has not been in vain and we will relate to Him and to each other differently.