As a person of the church, I know what it means to testify. I've seen it happen when someone wants to give their "testimony." Someone wants to tell you, if not convince you of the work of God in their lives, and it's usually some unique and awesome way, and that, if you'd just accept Jesus, God might operate in such profound ways in your life, too.
I've always been suspect of those who seem to have an access point to God that to me seems so far removed from my experience and or imagination.
Those testimonies just seem a little over the top, too spectacular, and isolating in their own way the sense that someone ordinary like me could every know God and been known by God on such terms and with such seeming intensity.
Sadly, it is our tendency to dismiss out of hand those spiritual practices, if not disciplines, that might do us some good, because we've seen them mishandled and used as devices to manipulate a certain response. Testifying is one of those things, and this Lent, Child of God, it's time to reclaim it and live it.
To testify, as a child of God, is not to manufacture a contrived Holy meaning to the events of one's day. I also believe that to testify is not to announce how good God is to YOU.
Rather, our testimony is to announce the reality that God is. And if we're careful, and just a little bit attentive, the profound miracle of grace is not the any of us have unique access to the Divine, but that we all do!
All we have to do is work on being attentive to what is universally offered.
Our testimony, then, is not about how blessed we are, or, how special we are, but that, through the dailyness of our being, despite how we feel, or what we think, we are not alone.
And then there's one more character to testimony worth mentioning. Not only do we bear witness to the truth that God is, but we are charged as Christ's own to announce who God is.
Isn't' that what Jesus did, even to the end? His life was not about himself, but a living testimony of the nature of the One who sent him.
And who is One for whom we testify?
The One, who, through Jesus
- announces release of the captives
- recovering of sight to the blind
- sets at liberty those who are oppressed
- announces the year of the Lord's favor as being right here, right now
- finds life and meaning with those whom the religious establishment marginalizes and judges
- declares forgiveness and reconciliation
- confronts the principalities and powers of the world, and does so without fear
So, will ya - will you tell not only that God is, but who God is?
Child of God, will you testify?