Prepare to Testify
By Cory Upson of Portland, OR, USA
“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify.” —Luke 21:12–13 NRSV
I don’t know about you, but I like to write my thoughts as I prepare to preach. Improvised speeches often do not go well for me, especially when I feel I am put on the spot. I always omit an important thought or point I feel might have made a difference.
So going before my persecutors unprepared is a terrifying thought. What if I leave out something important and get in big trouble? What if it is unconvincing because I never practiced my testimony? When the going gets tough, will I want to continue in the life of a disciple to which Christ calls me?
Luke tries to make an important point in this passage. In our times of struggle and persecution exists an opportunity to testify. The idea that opportunity exists in the face of suffering is not easy to understand.
With wars, famine, earthquakes, disease, and all manner of potential disasters in daily life, we have the opportunity to respond with compassion, love, and solidarity. We can feed those who starve, seek peace with those at war, and comfort those with shaken lives. We can pray for and visit the sick—and do it in the name of Jesus Christ. Such an opportunity may well lead us into dangerous places where Christ again calls us to testify to the life we know in him. But know, that in those difficult times, we belong to God and no one else.
Prayer for Peace
Guiding Spirit, help us always to be ready, by word or deed, to respond to the need for testimony. May we share our witness of peace with a war-torn world.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, our call is to respond to people and their needs. Pray about using your skills to help the mission of the community. As you feel affirmed, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple while you move into the outward journey.
Today, God, I will be a testament of the possibility of peace.