Before delivering my address, I would like to say a house blessing prayer. “Jesus Christ at our window, the Lord at our door, four beautiful guardian angels at the four corners of our house, Holy Crosses, encircle us, guardian angels, protect us. Amen.” Blessings and peace, God bless those who live in this house.
It is a great joy for me to be here with you, at the thanksgiving service of a growing congregation filled with strong determination and perseverance. Your strength is well illustrated by the fact that, over the course of a few years, first a rectory and then a congregation house were built, after which came the addition of a church and a monument expressing the unity of Hungarians. You built a spiritual home that can be called modern, but which conforms to the traditions of Calvinist church architecture, simultaneously expressing your allegiance to God and to the Hungarian nation. All this convincingly proves that, one thousand years after the adoption of Christianity and five hundred years after the beginning of the Hungarian Reformation, Hungarians are a church-building nation. A church-building nation. This is a title we can be very proud of in these times in which churches are being destroyed. The Church and the Government are working together to renew our churches across the Carpathian Basin, and to build new ones in places where they’re needed but haven’t existed so far – such as here in Csömör. In the fifteen years that we have spent in government, we have provided funds for the renovation of 3,000 churches and the construction of 130. Of these renovated churches, 1,124 were Calvinist, and 47 new Calvinist churches were built. Is the Government asking for something in return? Yes: the Government is asking you to exist. It is the job of the Government to preserve and protect our built heritage and to support courageous congregations ready to take action to launch church renovation or construction.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The House of the Sower. An apt name. If I think about it, it means that your work will not end and your dreams will not be fulfilled with the finishing touches on the building, but this will just be the beginning of a journey. The bulk of the work, the sowing of seeds, has yet to begin. We know the parable of the sower and its exegeses. This is a strange story, and even a country lad like me is puzzled by it. There’s no farmer in the world who sows seeds in the way described in this story. Who has ever heard of someone scattering precious seeds on hard ground, on stony places, or among thorns? Despite its eye-catching oddity, even the simplest person immediately understands this parable, because it best expresses the essence of the work from which Christianity burgeoned, and from which it does so repeatedly – from generation to generation. If I understand it correctly, it expresses the fact that the Church opens the doors of its churches, schools and care institutions not only to believers, the baptised or the confirmed, but also to those who have not yet received the blessing of the Christian faith. This is the source of the Church’s strength, and this has led to the radiance of Christian culture reaching those who are not yet members of it. This historical experience is expressed in our Fundamental Law, which states that Christianity is a force preserving nationhood. We Hungarians also believe that Christianity can sustain the whole of Europe – and even the whole world. But the National Avowal in the Fundamental Law also says that “We hold that after the decades of the twentieth century, which led to a state of moral decay, we have an abiding need for spiritual and intellectual renewal.” Whatever is said by those who leave the religious community of Christians or by the followers of today’s fashionable ideologies, what is known today as European culture is the result of two thousand years of sowing. This is not a question of philosophy, party, ideology or politics, but quite simply a matter of fact. The Christian Hungarian state also grew out of this sowing in the Carpathian Basin one thousand years ago. During the one and a half centuries of Muslim Ottoman occupation, the word sown by the preachers preserved and carried out the saving of souls which kept Hungary Hungarian. If it had not been for Gáspár Károli, if it had not been for the first complete Bible in Hungarian, today we would not speak Hungarian, but Turkish or German.
The seeds which have been sown by the apostles, missionaries and reformers in the lives of many, many people have produced a hundredfold yield. And we see this yield today in our architecture, our language, our literature, our legal system, countless works of art and, above all, in the lives of many, many families. But, Dear Brethren, from time to time we also see weeds among the crop. We also have to deal with the fact that when seeds are sown noisy flocks of fashionable ideologies also appear, and beaks try to snatch the teaching from people’s hearts if it has not embedded deeply enough. Therefore being a Christian Hungarian is both a matter of love and of struggle. And, based on thirty years of experience, I can tell you that today this is also the credo of Christian democratic politics in the 21st century. Love and struggle.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Every communal celebration is a vantage point from which we can look back on the journey we have taken and look forward to the next stage. Reformation Day is one such vantage point. In accordance with two thousand years of Christian teaching, this celebration today calls on us to accept that there is no harvest without sowing. It also reminds us how much we Hungarians have already received from Christianity, and how many good things emerged from the sown seed of Christianity that fell on Hungarian soil. We do not see these many good things as beloved, venerable items from the past, but as the building blocks of the Hungarian future. And, as up to now, we are ready to stand by our Hungarian Calvinist Church, when, after the national election of officials, they will start sowing, caring for sowing and harvesting with renewed vigour. But we also offer an alliance when you seek to plough hitherto uncultivated land. A noble tradition and heritage in Hungarian public life is that Calvinists have always been disproportionately involved in the service of public affairs. Our Catholic brothers and sisters tend to joke about this, but the fact remains that it is an old tradition in Hungarian politics. And we also know many politicians who in the course of their work have assumed leading roles in their presbyterian order, or who are pastors, deans or even bishops. This is how we think today, on Reformation Day, about the results and achievements that can be attributed to the Hungarian Reformation: schools, charities, the preservation of our beautiful Hungarian language, the care of those in distress and the public service of Calvinist statesmen – from Gábor Bethlen to István Tisza. And now this is how we give thanks for this church, the House of the Sower, through which the Calvinists of Csömör remind us of the miracle of sowing.
Soli Deo gloria!