Lectionary Readings for 3rd Advent. Dec. 14, 2014. Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, Ps 126, Luke 1: 46b-55:1, Thess. 5:16-24, John 1:6-8, 19-28
Testify! That's the theme for the third advent Sunday. (At least as suggested by our Mennonite Church materials this year.)
John came to testify to the light, and he did that even when some pharisees were sent to question him and harangue him for baptizing people. John pointed away from himself, saying that he wasn't even worthy to untie the sandals of the Messiah. That must have seemed strange to everyone there. After all, John was important enough to have crowds of people hanging on his words, how could he think he wasn't worthy? Or maybe that's a wrong way to think of John. He might have had quite a high opinion of himself-but his opinion of Jesus was much higher and he could easily set himself aside when the time was right.
How do we testify to our faith? What would be important enough for us to speak into the face of opposition? When do we set ourselves aside to point, with words/actions, toward God?
Many of us are quite uncomfortable "testifying" with words. We've seen people do this very poorly and been turned off, at least that's one thing that makes us leery of proclamation. I wonder, however, if the bigger reason we have trouble speaking out is just that we are scared. We aren't brave like John to speak into opposition. Or perhaps we find ourselves in different situations than John. After all, John was a speaker in the midst of speaking. What if you are a homemaker in the midst of diapers and meal making?
What are we in the midst of doing that testifies to who we are as followers of Jesus? Thessalonians gives some advice. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances..." Reading around this passage, the Christians are urged to live good lives, helping others and always seeking to do good. I enjoy being around people who live this way, who have attitudes of joy and helpfulness and who point people toward Jesus as the light.
Lives that positively impact people around them testify loudly to the light! So, if you are a speaker, speak! If you are a worker, work! Do it all for Jesus, for others, and with joy.