This generation lives through worship, the young people say of themselves. In Lisbon’s stadium they gave expression to this by praying and singing to the glory of Jesus.
More than 49,000 voices chanting the name of Jesus or repeating “Holy, Holy” – such an image stays in the memory for a long time. This was not a concert, although Christian music stars stood on stage. It wasn’t a meeting with interesting guests, although Nicky Gumbel, creator of Alpha courses, and Jonathan Roumie, playing the role of Jesus in the record-breaking series “The Chosen“, shared their testimonies. But one only had to look at the faces of the people gathered in Lisbon’s Benfica Stadium to be sure that it was, above all, a deep prayer and an authentic spiritual experience. “The Change” was the first such big ecumenical prayer meeting in the history of World Youth Day, held on Friday evening, after the conclusion of the Way of the Cross.
The idea for the meeting came from Protestant communities. They proposed that Christians of different denominations gather to pray and witness together, in order to fulfill Christ’s missionary command together: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Pope Francis agreed that CHARIS and other Christian churches organize and animate this event of spiritual ecumenism.
Why “change”? “Imagine a world where every person knows the Good News of Jesus, where the weakest are no longer at risk, where millions of disciple-missionaries will fulfill Christ’s great missionary command before the 2000th anniversary of his uttering these words. For this to be possible, CHANGE is necessary,” the event’s organizers write.
Jonathan Roumie, who plays the role of Jesus in the series “The Chosen,” reminded the audience that choosing to follow Christ is never an easy path. – It can be difficult and challenging, but what other decision is worth it? What other decision? – he asked rhetorically. – For me personally, the greatest challenge is to live my life and my vocation as perfectly as Jesus did. Even if I am aware that this is not possible, I will keep trying,” he stressed. He shared his testimony of the events that led him to fully trust God – soon after, he was offered the role of Jesus in “The Chosen.”
Real stars took the stage – among them Taya, formerly known for her hit song “The Oceans” from the band Hillsong, Israel Houghton and Matt Maher. Fernando Santos, coach of the Polish national soccer team, and Nicky Gumbel, pioneer of Alpha courses, among others, shared their testimonies. Along with others, a number of bishops prayed at the stadium.
Agnieszka Huf, Gość Niedzielnytranslation by CHARIS International
The entire gallery is Roman Koszowski/Foto Guest