Unite God’s people for God’s mission

“I realize that God gives us freedom to pursue passions in our life, not with greed but with a pure heart”, says Aldonna Purba, of the  Batak Christian Protestant Church, Indonesia,. Photo: private
“I realize that God gives us freedom to pursue passions in our life, not with greed but with a pure heart”, says Aldonna Purba, of the Batak Christian Protestant Church, Indonesia,. Photo: private

Young reformer Aldonna Purba, of the Batak Christian Protestant Church, says we need to start a reformation in our homes and churches before we can change the world.



Heading toward 500 years of reformation, God’s grace has enabled me to answer the calling to engage more in Christian ministry and be part of the Global Young Reformers’ Network. I have reflected deeply on my calling to lead a faithful life through the Baptism I received when I was an infant. Through confirmation, I have declared myself a follower of Jesus Christ and have accepted God’s invitation to His Kingdom.

Since the day I was confirmed and walked in procession to the altar, I have never stopped thinking about my calling. I grew up looking for the right ways to live by following my own plans. But at some point, I felt tired of depending on those plans. I started questioning what was wrong with my life decisions. Had I become what God wants me to be? I was not satisfied with my life, even when it looked fulfilling.

Justified by faith in Christ

But this year at our Good Friday worship, God called me through His church. When I took the blood and the body of Christ, I realized God’s grace on the cross was the answer to all my uncertainties and repentance to all the wrong paths of life I’ve ever taken. God loves me, a lost person. He called me to have a certain mission in life. I realized God wanted to change me to be a new creation in Christ in order to liberate me by His grace. I am justified by faith in Christ. By the grace of God I am what I am (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Since then my church life has been renewed. I took the initiative to learn more about my church, the Batak Christian Protestant Church. I decided to teach the Gospel as a Sunday school teacher. I wrote a journal of the sermons and bible studies I heard every week so that they would offer relevance to my daily life. I also checked out the website of my church and its theological seminary, which linked me to other Lutheran communions, including the Lutheran World Federation.

In church, young people can talk about human rights, justice, interfaith relations, global economy and climate change to achieve God’s mission. That is our reformation.
Aldonna Purba

From our Global Young Reformers’ Network and National Committee of the LWF in Indonesia, I have had the chance to make new friends with whom I could share inspiring reformation ideas, actions, dreams, works, and my faith in Christ. This calling is also strengthened by the annual theme of my church as “The Year of Family” that has taught me the importance of the body of Christ - God’s churches and families. I’ve learned that before we are going to change the world, God wants us to start a reformation in our home and our church.

I still remember a prayer I said when I was about 12. At that time my family had to focus on my father’s medical treatment, which forced me to take care of three younger sisters at home after school. I went to a good Catholic school but my parents couldn’t afford the expensive books and tuition. I had to borrow books from friends or make copies. It was a tough situation at my young age. I had to study harder to earn a scholarship and to book tuitions so I could keep going to a good school.

Ask and you shall receive

The situation led me to ask for God’s help. After reading the Gospel of Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and you shall receive, seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you”, I prayed to God to open the door to change my future. After God called me, I realized God had called me to make a change by living more faithfully in Christ. In God’s family, we learned to serve by loving and helping our poor and sick neighbors. We give hope to sick people through the words of God. We learn to live more peacefully with our neighbors who have treated us badly. We learn to forgive others. We learn to have more quality time and live more peacefully with one another. We also learn to care more about our church life.

After reading 2 Timothy 2:22 which says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart”, I realized God gives us freedom to pursue passions in our life, not with greed but with a pure heart. God made us a new creation in Christ in order that we can unite to stand for God’s mission bearing fruit in every good work.

Our church is a home for lost people who want to come to the light of Christ. Our church is not only a place to talk about death and heaven but a place that has been growing globally and fruitfully. Our church is concerned about the future of human beings and creation in all aspects of life. Our church has a mission to serve the world. Therefore, in church, we do not only learn religious perspectives but have opportunities to solve the problems of the world. Our church may have some issues but youth have the right to reform the church grounded by God’s love. In church, young people can talk about human rights, justice, interfaith relations, global economy and climate change to achieve God’s mission. That is our reformation.

Put scripture into action

By living in God’s grace my life is fulfilled. God’s grace has given me a mission in life through my family and my church. I started to introduce the Global Young Reformers’ Network to my church. It has broadened my perspective. I started talking with other young people about our church’s problems and how to solve them.

We have plans to bring back the Lutheran identity that has been forgotten by young people in our church. We talk about Martin Luther and his faith in Christ. As Luther said at the Diet of Worms, “I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience, I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me.” We need to put Scripture into action more because when I take the initiative to engage with it in my church, it leads me to being more faithful and pro-active in facing this world.

 

Aldonna Purba is a member of the Batak Christian Protestant Church, Indonesia. She is a Sunday school teacher in the church.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.