Tuesday December 16th – The Seventeenth Day of Advent #Testify

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During the season of Advent, I am going to do something new on the blog. I am going to try my best to offer a daily reflection here as we journey through this season together. To help frame the devotions I have been using hashtags designed by a group with the Episcopalian church. For example, the hashtag assigned for today is #Testify.

When we think of testifying, we probably imagine the idea of testifying in court (kind of like in this picture).
When we think of testifying, we probably imagine the idea of testifying in court (kind of like in this picture).

Let’s revisit for a moment the text I reflected a bit on, on Sunday, part of the usual gospel text for Christmas Day, John 1:1-18.

Within this text we hear the following lines in verses 6-9:

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”

John the Baptist “came as a witness to testify to the light.” He testified through his work, life and ministry. Recognizing that, I wonder how do we testify to the light?

Those that worship regularly testify in part through professing and confessing one’s faith- often through the use of the words in the creeds. Sometimes one might testify through a statement of faith, or the opportunity to tell a faith story. But I believe there are other times we testify. When we write- letters, blogs, notes, we may be testifying to the light. When we ask how a friend is doing, when we check-in with a colleague, and when we are there- present listening, supporting, sharing, laughing, crying… we may be testifying.

A cross covered in pictures of the "living saints" who are part of a particular faith community's body and congregation.
Some times though we testify in other ways, like joining together as a faith community and sharing our lives and our stories.

This time of year I am reminded of the pain and darkness that ever make clear why it is so important to testify to the light. Yesterday, we heard the news of a modern day slaughter of the innocents in Pakistan by the Taliban. I heard today of the sudden death of a ministry colleague at a neighboring church, and heard of another friend who is grieving the loss of a close friend who happens to be a father of young child. Others I know grieve the loss of their memories, are working through what it means to be underemployed, job transitions, major health procedures… the list of what we pray about and for is long. But by praying, and being present I think we are in a way testifying to the light.

I want to close today with a blessing we will be using at my faith community in worship later this week as part of our Blue Christmas service:

Reach our your hand, O Lord, and firmly hold me; I am afflicted, helpless, worn and weak. Reach out your hand, and let your love enfold me; grant me, in grace, the confidence I seek. Reach out your hand, and help me to believe: my feeble faith with hope increase. Reach out your hand; my earnest prayer receive: have mercy, Lord and grant me peace.

But speak the word, O Lord, that I may hear it and take deep comfort in your loving voice. But speak the word, and so revive my spirit that, thus assured, I may in you rejoice. But speak the word, and help me to believe: my feeble faith with hope increase. But speak the word; my earnest prayer receive: have mercy, Lord, and grant me peace.

So lift me up, O Lord, when I am falling, that in your presence I again may stand. So lift me up, your constant love recalling; so let me grasp your never-failing hand. So lift me up, and help me to believe: my feeble faith with hope increase. So lift me up; my earnest prayer receive: have mercy, Lord, and grant me peace.  Amen.

Credits: The Blessing quoted above comes from Moments of Grace: Hymns, Worship Services & Meditations for Caring and Healing Ministries.

Image Credit: Testify

 

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