You Are Witnesses
Charlie Carter, Lee’s Summit, MO, USA
Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”… Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” -Luke 24:36b-39, 44-48
The apostles are terrified and troubled. Jesus invites them to focus on him. “Behold my hands and feet… it is I.” He then “opens their understanding” concerning himself, the scriptures, and mission with the words, “Ye are witnesses of these things.”
I was 14 years old, sort of listening to the sermon. I heard the speaker say, “I have a challenge for you. Spend time every day reading the scriptures.” Something stirred inside me and I thought, “Hmmm… I accept that challenge.” I set aside a daily time for scripture and started what would be one of the most empowering decisions of my life. I had anticipated that this would be a very informational experience, but what I soon discovered was that it was a very relational experience when I was surprised by the presence of Christ.
Experience in daily scripture or another spiritual practice is very similar to the apostles’ experience that day with Jesus. Sometimes we’re terrified and troubled. Most days we’re just curious about God’s thoughts on the things going on in our lives and in the world. Our spiritual practice places our focus on Christ. We sense the invitation from Christ to spend time together, as if we are sharing conversation over a meal. We get to have personal experience with Christ. And because we see and experience Christ, we are “witnesses of these things.”
Family, friends, neighbors, fellow students, co-workers, and strangers with whom we come in contact daily are waiting to see and hear of the resurrected Christ-stories of new life and the good news of what God is doing in the world through Christ!
“Every breath is a resurrection” (Gregory Orr).
Breath of Life
Take a few moments right now to breathe. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how you breathe even when you aren’t thinking about it, how your body instinctively knows how to keep you alive without your thought or effort. In this moment, you are alive. Receive this awareness as an expression of divine grace. In joy or despair, loss or celebration, your body continues breathing. How is your breath a resurrection this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.