In today's sermon, we looked at Luke's account of Jesus' birth and explored how the news of that birth was shared so that we might gain some direction as to how we might share the news of Jesus' to our friends and family. We were reminded that Jesus' arrival among us is good news, that it needs to be experienced and reflected upon, that you don't need a University degree to talk about Jesus, and that an invitation to meet him is a good approach in witnessing.
After the sermon, I invited the congregation to consider what personal experiences have served to anchor their own faith and to write this down on paper. I have since been informed that there are few pencils in the pews, so it is possible that many did not make any notes. But I hope that it provided an opportunity for the congregation to consider how Christ has become real in their lives.
In his article "How Do I Respond to People Who Think God Is Irrelevant?", Todd Statham reflects on teaching a largely secular religious studies class in Germany. He suggests that sharing the Good News with those who things God is irrelevant is likely best accomplished by sharing our own experiences of God's presence and care
Perhaps the best way to respond... is not with an apology or argument but with a testimony of how we’ve personally experienced God as relevant. When have you sensed God’s goodness in your life or felt God’s guiding hand at a critical moment? Where have you been stirred by God’s love or troubled by God’s justice?... By sharing our personal experience of God’s relevance, we can challenge others’ attitudes and stimulate their imaginations...
In a time where people are wary of ultimate claims and sensitive to judgement, personal testimony provides a way of sharing truth without shutting down discussion. I know I left today's service curious about the various ways God has been experienced by the people at St. Andrew's.
Could it be that there are people in your life that are curious about God's work in your life? Could it be that your friends and loved ones aren't all that curious, but would be if you told them a little about your journey of faith? Maybe it's time to share some of this story.