„Understanding the foreign – not concealing one’s own.“

Church President Volker Jung places this thought at the centre of his message for Pentecost and calls for trust in God’s Spirit also in ecumenical relations.

To the press release in the wording

Church President Dr. Dr. h.c. Volker Jung (EKHN/Neetz)

Darmstadt, 7 June 2019: The Hesse-Nassau Church President Volker Jung reminded us at the forthcoming Pentecost that not all people need to be equal. „It is not important that people force people into unity, but to live peacefully and well together as different people,“ he explained on Friday (7 June) in Darmstadt in the run-up to Pentecost. „The fact that people meet each other in dignity belongs for me right at the top. This also includes admitting differences and diversity and not rising above others – for example in the opinion of being someone better and thinking, having the better culture, the better religion or even the better origin“, Jung continued.

Disgusting statements on the Internet

According to the Church President, the dispute over diversity in society has become even more acute as a result of the refugees who have come to Germany in recent years. Unfortunately, it has also led to extreme disrespect. Thus „the disgusting remarks in the net after the death of District President Dr. Walter Lübcke are marked by unbearable irreverence and contempt for humanity“. [Background information: Dr. Walter Lübcke was murdered in the night of 1st to 2nd of June in his home. The police is still investigating and there is no clear picture about the background. His commitment to refugees repeatedly led to messages of hatred against him on the Internet.] The biblical Pentecost story with the idea of the Spirit of God, who brings people to God and to each other, could contribute to a peaceful coexistence. The events of Pentecost also contained an important guiding idea for a good coexistence: „Understanding the foreign and not concealing one’s own“. Jung: „I am convinced: This is a guiding principle with which people can meet well. It helps people to understand each other. They don’t have to agree on everything. They understand each other and yet remain different people in all their diversity.“

Trusting God’s Spirit in Ecumenism

Jung also addressed the progress made in ecumenism. Pentecost posed critical questions to the churches in their various forms. For centuries the churches had been convinced „that people can only live well together if everyone believes the same thing“. Jung: „I am particularly pleased today that the ecumenical relationship between the Protestant and Catholic churches is meanwhile shaped by a Pentecostal spirit. It is a spirit that helps to understand each other’s confession better, without denying the special character of one’s own confession“. Thus, Protestant Christians certainly appreciated the particularly solemn liturgy in a Catholic service. Catholic Christians often welcomed how the Protestant Church debates with one another. For Jung „lived ecumenism“ means „entrusting oneself to the Spirit of God, who helps to bring faith and people together. And it helps to understand the foreign here too and not to conceal one’s own“.

Background Pentecost

At Pentecost, Christians recall the special meaning of the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecost is derived from the Greek term „the fiftieth“ (pentekoste), which alludes to the time of the feast after Easter. According to biblical tradition, 50 days after Easter God sent his spirit to the people, so that they could understand each other even across language barriers. In memory of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit described in the Bible (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2), Pentecost is also considered the origin of the Church.

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