Jesus, an open person
Pastor Martin Hoegger, ecumenical officer of the Reformed Church in the Canton of Vaud, preached the following sermon during the opening service of the 19th European Christian Internet Conference, at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, 2 June 2014.
I. Jesus, the open communicator par excellence
The theme of this conference is "Open Internet, Open Church, Open Source."
I would like to meditate on that little word "open".
First and foremost about Jesus as a completely “open” person.
Jesus was open to God and open to human beings: he lived that throughout his life. We read it in the Gospels.
Certainly, there is a mystery in the person of Jesus: his relationship with the one he calls his Father. Gradually he reveals the mystery of this relationship to those he meets.
When we walk with him, he gradually also reveals us the depth of this relationship.
Let us now ask a question: when was Jesus open, at the maximum?
I think it is on the cross. I propose you to read the narrative of the crucifixion according Luke in that way. (Luke 23,32-47)
At that paradoxical moment, Jesus is open to God and to human beings: he continues to communicate with heaven and earth.
Yet it seems that heavens and earth are completely closed for Jesus.
Heaven is closed: God seems to hide and the sky turned dark.
The earth is closed: all his disciples abandoned him, the leaders insulted him, the soldiers mocked him.
Yet in that terrible moment of closing, Jesus does not retire unto himself, he remains open, he continues to communicate.
He communicates with heaven: “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing”. “Father, I put myself into your hands”!
With earth: “I promise that to-day you will be with me in paradise”
Jesus needs few words to communicate. In fact Jesus communicates with his entire being, with his attitude, with his silence
This has the effect of converting the robber crucified alongside him and the Roman officer.
The first media of communication of Jesus is his person.
By choosing to incarnate himself, God chose to save us not by words, nor by a media, but by a person.
Let’s never forget that, as the medias are so powerful today: the primary means of communication is our person. The medias should never take precedence over the person. The medias are made for the person, not the person for the medias.
In summary, it’s at the cross that Jesus reveals himself as the communicator par excellence. At the cross that Jesus is totally open to God and to human beings
The cross is the secret of all true communication.
II. The Holy Spirit makes us open people
Let’s turn now to our second text from the letter to the Corinthians. (1 Cor 12,3b-11)
It’s well suited for our time before Pentecost.
Paul speaks of the gift of the Holy Spirit. But what is the work of the Holy Spirit? He applies in us what Jesus lived. He bears witness to Jesus.
It therefore makes us open people, who are able to communicate, as Jesus was open and able to communicate.
The Holy Spirit opens us to heaven and earth; he brings us near to God and near to persons.
It turns us toward God: " If you are led by God’s spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord." (v. 3)
It turns us toward our brothers and sisters in order to give them words of wisdom, to take care of them, by giving us all kinds of spiritual gifts: wisdom, healing, prophecy, etc. (v. 6ss)
Yes the Holy Spirit makes us open communicators.
May he give us to use all means of communication, especially Internet, to open ourselves to the beauty of heaven and earth!
I think that Internet is a sign of the times. As our world tends towards more openness, whether through political institutions, through the ecumenical movement or through interfaith dialogue, this powerful means of communication is made available to us. Is it not a sign of the Spirit?
The development of that media (like other medias) is a new step in the history of humanity towards more openness, more unity in diversity.
III. How I understood that Internet should be used
When I realized this, I was delivered from a deep hesitation to use Internet.
I was not born with Internet as my seven grandchildren.
I had to train and motivate me to use Internet to communicate my work in the field of ecumenism. How did that happen?
It happened four years ago during a seminar organized by the Focolare Movement on the theme of communication.
I identified four key points that helped me to use Internet: Communication is essential to human beings. What is not disclosed is lost. Second, listening is the beginning of the communication. Third, communication must especially emphasize the positive (but we should not silence the negative) and lastly, what is important and has priority is the human person, not the medias.
These points have freed me from my hesitations, as well as what I just told you about Jesus crucified, the greatest communicator and about the Holy Spirit who brings us the style of communication of Jesus.
Shortly after, I created " Info-oecuménisme", the Information Service of the Community of Christian Churches in the Canton of Vaud, which has become one of the most important mailing of ecumenical informations in the francophone world.
Let’s therefore look to Jesus crucified, the greatest communicator, totally open to God and to human beings!
Let’s invoke the Spirit of communion, who puts in us in the impetus of the Son to the Father, and his love for all!