Our liturgy adventure takes us on to John 1:29 – 34 which is often given the title – John Testifies About Jesus.
So, here it is;
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’
I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain,this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Now, there is a great deal that could be said about the huge statement of “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” and that will no doubt come in a future post. But, the passage as a whole talks to me about John telling his story. The events he has seen and witnessed, which speaks to me a great deal at the moment.
It seems to me that gone are the days where we declare from a distance – Behold the Lamb of God – it is far more about the every day interactions with friends, neighbours and people we meet.
How will they know about Jesus?
How will they come to know the stories of Jesus and the work he has done in our lives?
Picture the scene…
You are quiet happy wondering through town on a lazy sunny afternoon, perhaps you are with your family when you are approached by a man with a clip board. He starts up a conversation about your afternoon and talks about the weather than he thrusts a ID card in front of you explaining that he is from the Cats In Need and asks if you like cats.
You start by saying, yes but I prefer dogs and actually have a dog, but the second part of your sentence is strangely ignored and your new found friend proceeds to launch into a facts and figures session on how many cats are abandoned or mistreated and how the cuts have meant that the funding for Cats in Need is not the same. You are then told that just £5 a month will save a cat and how you should do this now, because you never know what might happen.
What started as a pleasant conversation about the weather has turned into a monologue about cats.
Now, you may be able to see where I am going with this. If you replace the Cats In Need with Jesus you start to see a picture of what some people are put through if they show any inclination towards Jesus. They are bombarded with Scriptures (or numbers) and told how they must act soon because they never know what might happen.
I believe we need to move away from seeing people as projects that we develop relationships with so we can lead them to Christ and include them in “church”.
Jesus didn’t do this.
He moved into the neighbourhood and stayed.
He met them on their turf.
He listened to people.
He was up to something far bigger and far more beautiful than trying to simply add people to church congregations.
We are called to follow Jesus, moment by moment, minute by minute, hour after hour, day after day. That is the life we are called to live. As we do this we engage with our local communities and as we continue to follow Jesus, we live in the midst of people who do not understand why we live the way we do. But it will intrigue them!
Life becomes more of how we share our stories and how we share our lives with those we meet/love/know. Which leads on to one of thoughts that has come to me recently, never underestimate the power of a cup of tea! Inviting people in for a cup of tea or just offering them a drink can be a great start to great conversations. Could we be a people who spend time with others because we love them, not that they are a probable for our next course?!
Let us learn to listen to people, really listen! Listen to their stories.
Then learn to tell our stories, the good and the bad, the struggles with faith, with prayer, with tithing! 😉
Let us step out in faith and bless people, pray for them, serve them, drink tea with them etc.
Let us learn to testify about Jesus and what he has done in our lives.
Think about it and as always let me know your thoughts,
Grace and Peace,
p.s. – For more thoughts on hospitality check out Sharon Robert’s latest blog post Simple Hospitality.
p.p.s – I also have nothing against cats or the man in the picture who looks a happy chap!
Father we thank you for sending you Son to dwell amongst us,
May we never loose sight of your heart for your people.
Let us start to fully grasp the mission of Jesus.
Holy Spirit be in our conversations, our interactions, our passing in the street moments,
That we might learn to hear your voice to catch the bigger vision.
We will be a people who live for Jesus,
Who learn to listen to others,
Who learn to tell their stories, with grace, humour, honesty and love.
Who learn to testify of Jesus and what he has done in our lives.
In Jesus’ name