Monday, May 09, 2016

To Bear Witness to the Gospel of God’s Grace

By Melanie Rigney

(Paul told the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus:) “But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me? Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:22-24)

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth. (Psalm 68:33a)

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just has you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:1-3)

 Lord, grant me the obedience, faith, and trust to follow where you lead.

It is said Paul’s address to the Church at Ephesus drew tears, people were so
Paul at Ephesus
byEustache Le Sueur [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons.
moved by his words. His travels, according to tradition, eventually would take him to his martyrdom in Rome.

We don’t know what the apostles’ reaction to Jesus’s prayer to the Father that night of the Last Supper was. Confusion, perhaps? Uncertainty? Acceptance of what they could not understand?

In the past month or so, a dozen or more folks in my Northern Virginia faith community have faced big tests of faith. Hospitalizations. Vehicle crashes. Major surgery involving loved ones. Lost jobs. The arrests of family members. Deaths of family members. Some of these events are age-related; others, not. There’s little that can be done by the rest of us beyond praying; sending cards; and listening.

But here’s the thing. Every single one of these souls appears to be less than thrown by the circumstances they’ve been slogging through. That’s not to say they’re jumping up and down with joy for the burdens they’ve been carrying. But there seems to be a universal acceptance of whatever lies ahead, in the same way, Paul and Jesus did. They will bear witness to grace, regardless of the form in which it comes. And I think to myself, this truly is Christianity in action. This is faith. This is courage.

Take time today to visit, call, write, or pray intentionally for a hurting friend.

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