After the Emmaus story, the disciples are gathered again in Jerusalem, telling one another about what they have seen and heard: Jesus is alive and active! Then Jesus appears yet again among them. He invites them to touch him – to verify that he is real. He eats some broiled fish for the same reason. And, as he did on the Emmaus road, Jesus explains how the Jewish scriptures point to Jesus as Messiah – one who must suffer, die, and rise again. “You are witnesses of these things.”
Once the disciples have seen the risen Jesus, the question is: What will they do about it? How will they witness to these things? What difference will it make? And that is the question for us, in our own day, who claim to follow this Jesus.
Sadly, I think we have lost the art of witnessing to the presence and action of Jesus in our lives. I wonder what it would take to re-enliven that aspect of our faith? In last Sunday’s Post, the popular author Ann Patchett tells about her experience as the owner of a new indy bookstore in Nashville. She talks about her lifelong compulsion to tell people about books that they simply must read. I often have the same drive to tell people when I read a book I really love. Why not share one of the great joys in life – discovery of a life-changing story or message?
Most of us know how enthusiastic we get about a new restaurant we love, or a recipe we’ve just tried, or a movie we’ve seen.Readers can be over the moon about a great new author or story we’ve discovered. I wonder what it would take for us to enthuse about our experience with God in the same way? After all, isn’t the risen Jesus a life-changing story…a compelling message to share?
Of course I understand that we are conditioned in polite society not to foist our religious views onto others. But that doesn’t mean we can’t communicate how meaningful our faith is to us, and invite others who might be interested. I wonder what St. Dunstan’s would need to be/do in order for us to recommend it to our friends as we would a great new restaurant? Do we need to improve our wine list? (Perhaps you are getting tired of port!) Update the décor? Tell the story in different ways?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I’d sure love to talk about these things. Dr. Tricia Lyons will be with us again this Sunday. We all enjoyed her energy and passion 2 weeks ago. I hope she can help us know the risen Christ, and be faithful “witnesses of these things.” JBM