WITNESS. Day 10 of Lent. Go & Tell.
I went to an AA meeting once. I’m not an alcoholic, but as I sat there in that smoky room full of the transparently pure, I wanted to be as brave as the people in that group. I coveted that place. A place where I could go and be among people who got my problem and stand up when I needed to and share my current and ongoing struggle. I want to listen to the witness of the over-comers. Hear the mysterious soul balm of encouragement as simple truths are told again, like old stories we’ve heard but perhaps today, have forgotten, and we remember. “Oh, yeah,” nodding our head, that is so true. I wanted to watch the courage of the one in the back, get up and take that long walk to the front, and grab the lectern with a white knuckle grip and recount the five days he’s gone without giving in and how every minute he wanted to and he’s still not sure how he didn’t. But God… and we swallow and we tear up and inside something shifts and we find courage ourselves. I want to lift my hand up in agreement and let that woman who is telling her story know I’ve been there too. Yes. I’ve been there too. And it’s going to be okay. We’re all working the program. Applying the Big Book. Making amends and watching out for resentments and curbing our expectations. And I want to visit with that old man, he only said a few words but they were so wise. And I can catch him at the coffee pot, he likes it black and hot. Me, I drowned it in cream so I don’t burn my tongue. And as I stir I say, “Thanks for sharing.” And he answers, “Keep coming back.” AA was a witness of the love and power of God and His people. And each person’s opening introduction became a witness to me.
As the church we are a Witness to the evidence that Christ saves and we are also called to testify to the evidence we believe. The fruits of the Spirit are a witness of the evidence. Our words, service and giving testify to what we believe.
It’s not an option, we are commanded to witness. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And we are promised we don’t go alone. Christ is with us. To the very end. We forget that sometimes. We think we are going it alone. But His presence is our peace and power.
Last week I got that call to “go”. It wasn’t to a geographical place but it was a call to witness. God had prepared my heart with a desire to participate in Lent. Then God put in my path something that He knew would make me stop and see how he wanted me to participate. I’m a visual learner, so when he wants me to have eyes to see, he often gives me something He knows will catch my attention. Since I love words, the title captivated me. A WITNESS THROUGH THESE 40 WORDS. On Ash Wednesday I began with the chosen word DUST.
The first few days were hard. It felt more like an assignment in obedience. And my secular job is in the height of busy season, so I was getting up earlier to make it happen. I was keeping the blog on the down low too. Until I saw a scene from an AA meeting on a TV show. Someone got up and said their name and those words, “I’m an alcoholic”. And Spirit said, “you need to say it.” And I knew what He was talking about.
As a writer I battle the ebb and flow of insecurity in my calling. As a teacher sometimes I can think what I have to share is just an opinion, my opinion and who wants another one of those. Doubt was holding back what God wanted to go out as a witness. So it was time to say it-“I am Jessica and I am a writer.”
I have witnessed to this before, to my closest friends in crucial moments. It’s usually said softly, with a nervous energy keeping my eyes jumping and my body squirming and then a rush of words runs after the statement because please just get me out of the awkwardness of this. See, I don’t really believe it. Yet. But at times I do. And God keeps me right here, totally reliant on Him just like an alcoholic. And then He sends His people to share a witness. Of what my words meant to them. Like He did yesterday. And I know that my obedience mattered. That my witness had a purpose. Just as yours does. To someone else.
We are to go. Witness. Of the evidence that Christ saves and witness to the evidence we believe.