Fun in itself (sermon at the city festival service)

City Festival Service, , automatically translated , Leichlingen roundabout Brückenstraße


Once again, a good morning from me, undisguised. I would like to introduce myself briefly: My name is Peter Schütt, I am 47 years old, married to Gretel, we have four children and work as a computer scientist in software development. I have been attending the town festival almost without interruption since 1973, initially as a children's jumble sale, jumble sale buyer and in connection with our community stand. and in connection with our community stand. So I'm a town festival veteran, so to speak, and I still enjoy being here.

Today this service is also going to be about "fun" and I hope so too, and I hope you enjoyed our little play, even if you've outgrown it.

Worship and fun

If I were to go around and ask you what you enjoy, how many of you would say "worship"? say? Probably no one, although there are certainly people here who enjoy going to a church service, myself included.

But we don't actually associate a church service with fun, and if it's about fun in a church service, then you'd rather expect a critical view with such pedagogically provocative statements as "No more fun", "Fun has come to an end", "The fun society is on the brink" or similar.

Fun in worship seems somehow alien, perhaps even inappropriate. Most bring Most people associate church services with devotion, reflection and rest, others expect only boredom and feel that attending church services is a waste of time. church service as a waste of time. In any case, the common experience is that there is nothing to laugh about.

Some may now disagree: During the sermons in our church, sometimes there is even a joke, although this is considered to be However, this is a bit thin as the sole reason for attending a church service.

Others get upset about the pastors, who are often so boring. You can recognise pastors by the way they speak. They often speak slowly and deliberately and If you ask them a question that only needs a short answer, you often get a short sermon anyway.

If you have such a cliché pastor in the pulpit, it can be a bit of a buzzkill.

But once again: Is fun even appropriate in a church service?

Many worshippers, myself included, believe that God is present in some form in the service, and this is also confirmed in the Bible, where Jesus says in one passage (Matthew 18:20; NIV):

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

So, if God himself is there, then the fun is over in any case, isn't it? That is somehow unworthy. In any case, as a Christian you have nothing to laugh about, that's what some people still believe.

Christians and fun

Is a Christian allowed to have fun at all? Does the Bible say anything about whether a Christian is allowed to have fun? And what does the internet say about it? You can google "Is a Christian allowed to have fun?" later.

The Bible doesn't say anything directly about it. There is no sentence like: "A Christian is allowed to have fun" or "A Christian is not allowed to have fun". or "A Christian is not allowed to have fun". There is a very simple reason for this. It is a matter of course that a person has fun. All people spend their time now and then doing activities that they enjoy. That is completely natural.

But isn't everything that is fun forbidden in the Bible?

The question of what is allowed is an ancient one. I would like to read something from a letter that is almost 2000 years old, It is the first letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians and it is written in the Bible. Here we are right in the middle of this discussion (1 Corinthians 6:12):

12 "All things are lawful for me!" Whoever says this, I say to him: `But not everything that is lawful for me... is also good 'for me and for others'. - "Everything is permitted to me!" But it must not come to the point that I let myself be ruled by anything.

The statement "Everything is permitted to me!" is not contradicted here in principle, but two borderlines are pointed out:

  1. What is good for me and others?
  2. What could dominate me, make me unfree?

Are these boundary lines now brakes on fun? At the front they say "everything is allowed" and at the back comes the big "but"?

But these limit lines are logical. For example, it would be great fun to drive through the village at 100 km/h. At least for me and probably for many others, at least for me and probably for many others, but that's forbidden, of course. in his head, he will stick to this ban, because otherwise others and also himself will be extremely endangered. And if something happens, then the fun really comes to an end.

In principle, all of us present here are probably in agreement on this. There are laws that should enable people to live together in our country. and there is the judiciary, which prosecutes and punishes violations of the law. By and large, this works quite well quite well compared to some other countries. Of course, there is room for improvement, and I too am often annoyed by certain laws, for example, when I have to do my tax return and I ask myself every year, what did the person smoke who came up with this complex of regulations, especially if you also have a business; then you are in Wust 2.0. I often have the nasty thought that all those involved in the tax legislation process should do their own tax returns and not hire a tax advisor. themselves and are not allowed to hire a tax advisor. Or when I see our government's handling of the NSA surveillance scandal, I could get the pimpanellas, I'm a computer scientist, but I digress.

For all the complaining about our society and all the necessary efforts to improve it, it doesn't hurt to take an occasional to take a grateful look at our situation here. A large part of humanity has it worse.

So we mostly have sensible laws that provide framework conditions for our coexistence.

It becomes interesting when we look at the two questions "What is good for me and for others? from a more personal point of view, i.e. not only from a legal point of view. To put it bluntly: you can behave like a bastard, without breaking the law, and that's not good for others at least, and probably not good for you in the long run either, if your behaviour scares off all your social contacts.

But what kind of limits are useful in our personal lives and what are useless buzzkills?

We find a lot about this in the Bible. The Ten Commandments are quite well known, for example:

A pastor friend of mine, not a cliché bores, once described the ten commandments as ten protection zones, and I like this I like this comparison. When you live within these commandments, you avoid doing deeds that harm yourself and others, and you also avoid, and also avoid being ruled by something that is wrong.

Today is not the time to look at all ten commandments in detail, and so I would like to share with you another, perhaps one of the most important, statements of Jesus Christ in the Bible. of perhaps the most important statements of Jesus Christ in the Bible on the subject of boundaries (Matthew 7:12; NGÜ):

Act towards men in all things as you would have them act towards you. This is what the Law and the Prophets demand.
Not only in a negative sense, as the proverb says: "Do not do to others what you would not want done to you! but in a positive sense: act in the way you want others to act for you.

Does that work in practice, or only in theory? And somehow this statement also tends to put the brakes on fun. So, for example, when my wife and I come home and the kitchen hasn't been tidied up yet, it's more fun for me, to sit down and read and let my wife unload the dishwasher and put it away again.

But I don't usually get away with it; actually, I don't want to behave in such an antisocial way, it's more like an inner pig. it's more of an inner pig-dog thing. Fun doesn't have to be egomaniacal, of course, and shared fun can be twice the fun.

Fun and more

I would now like to go a little beyond fun. In the Bible, depending on the translation, the word "fun" does not appear so often. but the word "joy" appears very often (210 times in the Luther Bible).

What is the difference between "fun" and "joy"? Is there one?

I am sure almost all of you know a Bible verse with the word "joy", because in the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke the angel speaks to the shepherds: "Do not be afraid! Behold, I proclaim great joy to you".

The Latin translation for great joy is "Gaudium magnum" and this Latin word was adopted as a loanword in a southern European language: "Gaudium magnum". language as a loan word: "Däs is a Mords-Gaudi!", although the word "Gaudi" is more likely to stand for a single joke, for a joke, but it already points in the direction that the word "joy" in the Bible is not simply a theoretical concept. theoretical concept.

When you have fun in life, fun in your job, fun in your family, in your children, it means the same thing as joy and it's a great thing to experience that joy, but sometimes it gets stuck. Maybe we experience unfavourable circumstances such as unemployment, maybe we have had a falling out, maybe we have or maybe we have behaved badly and caused problems for ourselves, so that the fun in life is diminished, but maybe the problem lies deeper.

There is an interesting Bible text about this, where the author, King Solomon, the inventor of Solomon's judgement, consciously judges all things on earth from an earthly point of view (Ecclesiastes 3:10-13; NL).

10 I have looked at the work God has given people to toil at. 11 God has given everything in this world its time in advance; he has even placed eternity in the hearts of in the hearts of men. But they are not able to see the extent of God's working; they neither see through where it begins nor where it ends. 12 This made me realise that the best thing for man is to rejoice and enjoy what he has. 13 For it is a gift from God when someone eats and drinks and can rejoice in the fruits of his labour.
If you can enjoy your life and your work, then that is a gift from God, says Solomon. But that doesn't work most of the time, because on the one hand work is often enough a nuisance and on the other hand eternity doesn't always leave us alone. in our hearts does not always leave us in peace. Deep down inside we know that there is more to life than a fun life that lasts 70, 80 or or maybe even 100 years. Why then do so many people in so many different cultures ask about God? All the religions of this world are an expression of the human questioning for God, an expression of this deep longing.

And there is a beautiful sentence about this in the Bible: (Galatians 4:4; LUTHER):

When the time was fulfilled, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, and this Jesus is the answer to eternity in our world. answer to eternity in our hearts.

Jesus himself expresses this in a comparison with water for drinking (John 4, 13.14; NGÜ):

"Everyone who drinks of this (ordinary) water will become thirsty again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I give him will become a spring in him, flowing unceasingly, even to eternal life."

And then life takes on a whole new basis. Allow me to conclude with a Bible verse (Nehemiah 8:10; LUTHER):

Be not dismayed: for the joy of God is your strength.

Often enough you have to be strong in order to tackle your life and to be able to regulate and cope with difficult things. The joy in God, the fun of living with God, is the strength of a life, the basis, because eternity has found its goal in our eternity has found its goal in our heart.