Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Talking About Jesus

I’m close to three quarters the way through my 40 days with Bonhoeffer.  When I get to heaven he will be one of the people I seek out first – that’s after Jesus, and God, the Holy Spirit, and my mum and dad, and my two unborn children, my sister Linda and my brother Mike and Joe’s mum and Laddie dog, and William Wilberforce and a host of other great names. 

The topic for today is the Word of God.

I feel myself to be on fairly solid ground when it comes to the Word of God.  I’ve read it, preached it, acted some of it out in various scenarios, written poetry prompted by it, prayed it, written devotionals inspired by it, drawn pictures of some of the stories, chewed over bits of it, spat out other bits of it, rewritten bits of it to suit myself and, sometimes allowed it to soak into me and become part of who I am and what I do. I have been transformed by it.

We cannot do without the Word of God. 

“But God put his word into the mouth of human beings so that it may be passed on to others…God has willed that we should seek and find God’s living Word in the testimony of other Christians…Christians need other Christians who speak God’s Word to them.”

I used to get into serious trouble every Sunday when I worshipped with the Brethren Church when I lived in Limassol in Cyprus. I don’t know whether the rules about women speaking in a meeting have been relaxed or not, but in my day they took Paul’s directive about women being silent very seriously.  It always surprised me that as a woman who rarely said much from Monday to Saturday when none would have complained, Sundays were a real battle to stay silent. 

There was always this bit in the evening service about testimonies.  A gospel message was always preached, despite everyone in the room having made a commitment to Jesus.  Visitors were rare and usually came with letters of recommendation from other Brethren churches.  When the invitation went out to share what God had done there was a heavy silence. No one was jumping the queue to get to the platform to share a testimony. There was no queue, just an awkward silence, before the speaker moved on.  I hated that silence.  God was not doing nothing! So I started to fill it.  I gave accounts of answered prayer.  I talked about encouraging conversations I had with my landlord about Jesus.  I described sunsets that had stirred me to praise God. 

Every Sunday I would say something.  It got to the stage where heads would start turning in my direction as soon as the invitation was given. I was admired by some but vilified by most.

Every Monday I would be called to the elder’s office and hauled over the stones.  Did I not know the Scriptures?  Did I not know that as I woman I was commanded to be silent?  I seem to remember some retort that went something like, “If the men in the church did their job properly I wouldn’t need to speak out!”

The spoken Word is not just about reading what is written in the Bible.  It’s also about testifying of how the Word in my life is transforming me.

The first of two journal reflections for today was about writing about people who spoken God’s Word into my life.

Have I mentioned my hermit tendencies and my self-sufficient streak before? I speak the Word of God into my own life!  I guess I’m not talking to as many people as I could, or I’m not talking about my Christian walk with them.  Sadly, I’m not even sure that I expect folk to speak from God to me.  It is not a good thing to admit.  I perhaps need to deliberately put myself in the path of His Word, and recognise and respond to it in all its forms.

The second journal reflection was about identifying the people I had spoken the Word to.  My problem here is, not exactly editing what I have to say, but saying the “God” thing and not just the “good” thing. Saying something is often not the problem.  Making what I say necessary is the challenge.

At a first glance I think I chastised myself for not being vocal enough and sharing my stories with others.  I have thrown enough pearls to so many pigs and seen it trampled into the mud that I am not always quick to speak.  But then I remembered the poetry that I write and share at the Sunset café, or at a Sunday meeting, or on the blog…and I know that I am speaking the Word of God to people.  It’s wrapped in verse, but it is the Word of God.

One generation commends your works to another: they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty - and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works - and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” Psalm 145:4-8

Tell me about what you know of God’s mighty acts – truth I need to know.  Let me tell you of His wonderful works in my life – truth you need to know.

Let's talk about Jesus!

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