Monday, January 27, 2014

Signed, Sealed, Witnessed

So, I have another confession.  When I read or hear biblical passages that list names of families and relationships between generations of persons, my eyes tend to glaze over and I can easily move towards tune-out mode.  I am a big picture person.  This level of detail rarely engages me.  This is what happened at church this Sunday.  The Old Testament lesson from Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 began with a list of barely pronounceable characters and their relationship to each other.  I was nodding off (I admit I feel shame). 

All of a sudden, I heard these key words, “I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses […], in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed…in the presence of all the Judeans…in their presence I charged….”  I had an epiphany:  the lists of individuals and people included in the Bible are witnesses to thousands of years of history of individuals who bear witness to the work of God in the world.  Listing these people identifies a community of believers.  This is real history:  These are families and generations of believers and a community of God-fearing people.

We are not alone in our belief of God.  Never have been, never will be.

The New Testament and Gospel readings for Sunday went on to continue this theme of bearing witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the World (1 Timothy 6: 6-19 and Luke 16: 19-31).  People bore witness for each other in their belief and supported a community that believed in God.  When we have a family Bible with generations written in the front of it, we are continuing this tradition of listing the members who continue to establish generations of believers in a family of God.

When we baptize, we do this in front of a church that bears witness to becoming a member of a community of believers.  We are becoming history when we bear witness and add our name to this long list of witnesses who have gone before us in our relationship with God.

I like being part of a group.  I am a natural extrovert and I am comforted that I am one of many who have gone before me.  The long list of individuals included in Bible readings no longer bores me.  It excites me that there are so many historical believers identified in the Bible itself.

We are not alone in our belief of God.  Never have been, never will be.

#christwalk1 #believer #church