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Posted on Mon, Mar 21, 2011
March 21, 2011 Linda Witkowski
11th Day of Lent Genesis 17:1-17, 15-16
To bear witness, to stand as witness, to be witness - all of these expressions are alike and at the same time different. More and more I think of these as responsibilities as well as joys. I think of all these as what we Christians must do in ways large and small. Even just walking from our parking lot (especially on wintry days) and through the church doors tells the passing neighbor that this place is where we choose and want to be. No words need be spoken to get that idea across.
We may bear witness as sometimes facing a burden in the name of our Christian beliefs. Certainly there were Gazette readers who looked upon our stole exhibit and the text which clearly states that as Christians we love our neighbors who may be different from ourselves as wrong, wrong, wrong. We may even hear from letters to the editor that First Reformed sets a bad example. But doesn’t our covenant state that we have an “open mind” and a “warm heart?”
Being, our essence, what our lives’ activities show about us should say that as Christians we believe in helping others - whether it’s as a good neighbor or volunteering at the Women’s House or in the Peace Corps. We can all think of what our own, individual parts are in this witnessing business whether in church, in our homes, in our work and even in our play.
Some years ago at Bethesda House I was witness to two conversations, so moving that I had to turn my head lest I weep in public. One concerned a woman who sorely needed a bus token for I forget what, but it was of great importance (not an unusual predicament for many of our guests there). Then, another visitor with pretty much the same needs as his fellows simply and spontaneously said “Here, take mine.”
The second concerned a young mother and her child, about four years old. The child, in a stroller, suddenly recoiled and made a mouse-like squeak when a man bent down to give her a friendly pat. The mother quickly responded with “It’s all right. He’s a friend. We’re safe here.”
So, that place of respite and hope was a place of witness, a place to act upon the second great commandment.
In keeping with one of Rev. Carlson’s sermon entitled L.O.V.E., we listen to the word, we obey, we vow to put our faith in action, and we enjoy our fellowship together.
To our maker who gives us myriad opportunities to show our loyalty and faith, we give great thanks.
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