Witnesses

” . . . witnesses . . . ”


“But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(Acts 1:8)


On Monday afternoon I was returning from visiting a parishioner at a rehabilitation center and stopped at a STOP sign on a corner.  Right next to the STOP sign was this older telephone pole, replete with more nails, staples, and fasteners than I ever would want to try to count.  Obviously, it got my attention so I looked for a place to pull over and take its picture.  Doesn’t it immediately rev up your imagination just wondering about all the messages it has carried for the community – yard sales, lost pets, campaign posters, concert information, etc.  This pole has been very busy and very faithful, not only carrying the telephone, power, and cable lines, but also serving as an information kiosk for the whole community.

Sometimes I feel like that telephone pole.  Maybe that’s why I knew I had to get a picture of this particular pole.  As a pastor, I know I’m watched.  Sometimes I don’t pay much attention to it, but other times it can really bother me. I’ve learned from experience that no matter where I am or what I’m doing in the community I need to be aware that someone might be watching to see if I’m friendly, caring, etc.  In other words, folks are watching to see what message I’m carrying or communicating to the community.  They’re watching to see if I practice what I preach.  Do I witness to Christ’s love or do I succumb to baser feelings and urgings.  Sometimes in spite of my best efforts my actions have been misinterpreted, and word has gotten back to me that someone thinks I’ve made a poor witness.  That’s when it bothers me the most to know I’m being watched.  I can’t always control someone else’ interpretation and opinion of me, but it reminds me to be careful because folks are watching.

Today the message I hear throughout out culture is that as Christians we’re being watched to see what message we have tacked to us for others to see.  I know this because as Christians today we get called, “hypocrites,” or “irrelevant,” or other negative descriptions.  That’s not necessarily bad news because that tells me we’re being watched.  Maybe we haven’t sent the right message, but maybe there’s still hope it we’re being watched.  When folks talk about a spirituality without the church or organized religion, or when others decide that they’re “agnostic” or “atheist” it tells me they’re questioning, struggling, and have been watching us – maybe without our even having been aware of their watching.  So . . . it tells me that it’s not just pastors who are being watched.  It’s all of us who claim our place in the family of Christ and call ourselves, “Christians.”  We all need to be aware of what message we are sharing in all we do because, trust me, others are watching, questioning, and struggling with faith and life.  They need for us to be sharing the message of hope and life in God’s love.  What message do you send to others in the community?  Is it a relevant message for their lives?  Will it help them find peace in God’s love poured out in Christ or will it confuse them even further? How does God’s love change your life?  Can you find ways to post that sign for others to see?

I pray that God will keep reminding me that others are watching and help me communicate the good news of God’s love in Christ that can and does make a difference in life each and every day.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on April 22, 2015.

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