Editorial 2016-1

The tailwind of Christmas carries us into the New Year. It is a journey into unknown territory. The road ahead has not been scouted out, and even the goal of this journey may remain somewhat clouded.

One thing we know for sure, as we are coming from Christmas: God has set up His tent among us. This is what we read in John’s Gospel (John 1:14) „The Word (God himself) became man and ‘set up tent’ among us”. The God of the Bible is the “Camping God”. He is neither a „mountain-top-God“, to whom we must travel, nor is he the “Temple-God” who lives in a permanent building.
He is the God who comes – the God who is there – the God who walks alongside us. He loves mankind so much that he leaves the comfort zone of heaven and ventures into the every-day-world of his people – to bring them life (John 3:16). This is our God!

In John’s Gospel we find Jesus at a wedding in Galilee. We learn that he engages a searching theologian in a very personal conversation. He asks the woman at the well for a cup of water. He visits the sick at Bethesda and a family in mourning in Bethany. And finally he takes on the role of a servant and washes his disciples’ dirty feet – he calls them “friends”. “He loves his own to the end“, it says of him (John 13:1). This is our God! He sets up tent among mankind. He simply is the „camping God". How should this God not accompany us through the New Year?

Later the Risen One speaks to his disciples: „As the Father has sent me so send I you” (John 20:21). This is our commission. We become a part of God’s movement to people – especially as this New Year begins. We are challenged to leave the comfort zones of our churches and theological schools and to share life with people! We are called to be „camping churches” …called to follow in God’s footsteps. Jesus showed us how to do this.

Wishing you a blessed „camping trip“.
Dr. Bernhard Ott