Thoughts on the Kirchentag theme “Now is the time” (2023)
The now, the here and now is strongly emphasised in Jesus.
Somewhat excessively, one could almost call him the inventor of the present.
For John the Baptist, there was only the past with human transgressions that could no longer be changed, and the future in which God’s judgement loomed. The only thing left for human beings in the present was to repent of the past, to look for other ways and to symbolically take upon themselves the water punishment (baptism) in order to escape the future judgment by fire. That is why the Baptist withdrew from the culture into the desert.
His message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
After the arrest of the Baptist, Jesus also proclaims this.
But between the past burdened with mistakes and the future judgement, Jesus emphasises the present. Now is the time when God turns to humanity (again). So now is a time of joy like at a wedding when the bridegroom is there. Now is the time for action. That is why Jesus does not retreat into the desert, but invites all people to his meal fellowship and thus back into society, as a kind of anticipation of the heavenly banquet of joy.
The past can no longer be changed – hopefully we will at least learn from it, and we humans do not have the future judgement in our hands either. But now we can act, we can proclaim God’s coming and his peace with all people through word and deed. Now we can turn to the poor. Now we can fight to turn enemies – if not friends – into non-enemies.
Now you can work for justice, peace and the integrity of creation.