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May 1, 2014, 1:28 PM

Sharing Stories of God at Work in Our Lives

“Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”  Luke 24:35

It was the same day that the women found Jesus’ tomb empty and were told by angels that he was risen.  Two disciples, Cleopas and his wife, no doubt feeling a mixture of grief and confusion walked home sadly from Jerusalem.  On the way, a stranger joined them and they told him about what had happened and how their hopes had been dashed by Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.  As they continued on the way together, the stranger showed them how all of the events fulfilled scripture.

They invited the stranger to stay with them, and at supper, the stranger broke the bread and as they recognized him, he disappeared.  When they realized that they had been in the presence of the risen Christ, they ran back to tell the others. 

The resurrection appearances are powerful stories of community—believers, doubters, and strugglers—gathering and going their own ways and gathering again.  Always, they come together to tell about their experiences, share their memories of Jesus—his acts and his words. They share their stories to encourage one another and help each other discern the meanings.  They shine the light of Scripture on their experiences and come to new understandings.  They sit at table and break bread, and often, beyond mere intellectual understanding, they come to see with their hearts what was right before them all along.

We all have stories from our own lives: times when we have sensed God’s presence as sudden inspiration or comfort or 2guidance; times when prayers were answered or when our eyes were opened because someone welcomed us, or because we opened our heart, our door, or our life to a stranger—someone we didn't expect to be a blessing.

When we tell one another about our experiences—when we share our stories in our faith community—we encourage one another, we strengthen one another’s faith.  We illuminate the path for one another.  Sometimes you are the one who needs support and sometimes you are the one who can offer support.  This is why, for all of our history, a central Christian practice has been testimony and witness.  Testimony and Witness is our faith practice for this Easter season.

Personal testimony and witness within the faith community should not be limited to the clergy sharing their stories.  We all have faith stories to share and when they are shared by non-clergy they are more empowering and encouraging to the non-clergy sitting in the pews.  On the Sunday after Easter, Armin Baur shared an inspiring and encouraging story of answered prayer.  His story resonated with many in the congregation and the experience was powerful for all of us.

We are a people of story, built on the witness of our Bible and rooted in the testimony of our communities. Discovering the power of giving witness and testimony requires recognizing that each of us has a valid story, indeed, many stories, and that we can identify God’s work within those stories. It takes courage to share your own story; but it will be exactly what someone in the congregation needs to hear that day.  Please get in touch with me if you would be willing to share a brief story of a time when your recognized God at work in your life.

            See you Sunday!

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